World champion Japheth Korir was the major casualty when the final team was named Wednesday for the World Cross Country Championships due March 28 in Guiyang, China.
Team manager John Kimetto disclosed that Korir, who made history when he became the youngest athlete to win men’s 12km race aged 19 during the 2013 in Bydgoszcz, Poland, had failed to hit form.
Korir was given a wild card to the team despite not finishing in top 20 during the national championships scum trials on Valentine’s Day.
A hip injury has seen Alicenta Aprot also sidelined alongside two times World Junior Cross Country champion Viola Kibiwott from the women’s 8km team that has world defending champion Emily Chebet.
Africa and national champion Faith Chepng’etich, who is also the reigning World Cross Country junior champion, has also failed to recover from a metatarsal injury.
The 2013 World Youth 3,000m champion Lilian Kasait, who was given a wild card to the team, also failed to make the final women’s 6km team.
The team, which is currently training in Kigari, Embu, is due to leave the country on March 25 but they have requested Athletics Kenya for an early date departure.
The men’s 12km title defense assault will now be led by World Half Marathon champion Geoffrey Kipsang as captain, national champion Bedan Karoki and World Cross Country junior silver medallist Bernard Barsaton. Also in the team are Africa Cross Country junior champion Moses Mukono, National Cross Series winner Philip Lagat and Joseph Kiptum.
“We brought in Korir even after finishing 48th at the national trials so as to give him a second chance but he has not reached the peak form we wanted,” said Kimetto.
“Aprot’s injury dates back to 2011 when she failed to compete at the Africa Cross Country,” said Kimetto.
“We have advised her to seek proper treatment lest she ruins her athletics career completely.” On the part of Kasait, Kimetto said they brought in Kasait because of her experience just in case the newcomers didn’t perform well. “The newcomers have proved their mettle,” Kimetto said.