The Iten-based pair of world women’s marathon record holder Mary Keitany and Chicago Marathon champion Florence Kiplagat have turned down invitations to run for Kenya at the World Championships in London this August.
The two, who spoke to Nation Sports yesterday, thanked Athletics Kenya (AK) for giving them the opportunity, but noted that they will not be ready for the London championships having just competed in April’s energy-sapping London Marathon.
Meanwhile, Agnes Barsosio, named as a reserve in the team, has also withdrawn with a knee injury.
Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge had not responded to his selection in the men’s team while there were conflicting reports about the status of Tokyo Marathon champion Wilson Kipsang who was also named in the team along with London Marathon champion Daniel Wanjiru.
NURSING SOME INJURIES
AK deputy president in charge of competitions, Paul Mutwii, disclosed that Kipsang had written to them accepting his selection but his manager, Gerard van de Veen, stated otherwise.
Mutwii gave the athletes until Friday to confirm their availability.
Keitany said she will not have rested well enough for the World Championships after her exploits at London Marathon on April 23 where she set a new women’s-only world marathon record of two hours, 17 minutes and one second.
Kiplagat disclosed that she was still nursing some injures including sore back heels which she picked up during the London Marathon in April.
“My body needs a good rest, having broken the world marathon record, besides running my fastest half marathon race in February,” said Keitany adding that she doesn’t want to embarrass the country with a poor show at the World Championships.
“I wanted to be 100 per cent sure that I am for victory in London but the prevailing conditions can’t allow… let someone else be picked.”
Keitany finished second in personal best 1:05:13 at the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon on February 10 before going for the full marathon record in London.
“I had prepared well for Rio Olympics (last year) having not punished by body at the 2016 London Marathon but I wasn’t considered (in the Kenyan team),” said Keitany, the New York City Marathon champion. “I have punished my body enough and I need some rest… I believe we still have credible and good talent out there.”
Kiplagat said that two months will not be enough to prepare for a World Championships.
“I will have wasted a lot of time in recovery hence it’s wise if I am to give someone else a chance,” said Kiplagat, who hopes to be in shape to defend her Chicago Marathon title in October.
The women’s team now remains with two times world champion Edna Kiplagat, who is fresh from winning Boston Marathon, and reserve Purity Rionoripo, the reigning Paris Marathon champion.
“It will be tricky filling the women’s team since we shall need at least two more athletes,” said Mutwii adding that they will only need one replacement in men’s team. London Marathon champion Wanjiru has accepted his selection in the men’s team that has Kipchoge and Kipsang.
Boston Marathon champion Geoffrey Kirui and the 2016 Mumbai Marathon champion Gedion Kipketer, who finished second in Tokyo, are reserves.