A hamstring injury had forced the World Half Marathon silver medallist Bedan Karoki to withdrawn from this year’s World Half Marathon Championships due March 24 in Valencia, Spain.
Karoki, who is fresh from retaining the Ras Al Khaimah Half (RAK) Marathon in personal best of 58 minutes and 42 seconds on February 9 in United Arab Emirates, said he sustained the injury just after RAK event.
“It’s so disappointing but even though I am training, I can’t push hard,” said Karoki, adding that he has already communicated with Athletics Kenya (AK) over the new development.
Karoki, 27, will now be replaced by his age mate Alex Oloitiptip from Kenya Defence Forces, who was on the reserve list.
Karoki hopes to heal in time for the London Marathon due April 22.
Oloitiptip has a season best of 1:00:49 from Houston Half Marathon held on January 14, though he has a personal best of 58:51 from Copenhagen last year.
AK vice president Paul Mutwii said they will have found another reserve by the time the team converges in Ngong on Wednesday this week.
“We want them to meet for few days before departure for the sake of coordination,” said Mutwii.
Oloitiptip joins two times defending champion Geoffrey Kamworor and World half marathon record holder Joyciline Jepkosgei, who will lead Kenya’s assault at the World Half Marathon.
Besides Oloitiptip and Kamworor, who won his maiden title at 2014 Copenhagen, before defending the crown in 2016 Cardiff, the men’s team has the 2017 Family Bank Half Marathon winner Jorum Okombo (58:48), World Cross Country silver medallist Leonard Barsaton and Barselius Kipyego, the winner of the Ústínad Labem Half Marathon in Czech last year.
Okombo and Oloitiptip finished second and third in personal bests 58:48 and 58:51 respectively at the Copenhagen Half Marathon last September, while Kipyego broke the course record with victory in 59:15 at Ústí nad Labem Half Marathon.
Kamworor won in 2014 at Copenhagen, Denmark in a world lead and championship record time of 59:08, before retaining the crown at 2016 Cardiff in 59:10, the second fastest time in the championship.
Karoki settled for silver in 59:36 in Cardiff flooring Briton Mo Farah to third in 59:59.
Jepkosgei, who broke the world half marathon twice last year, will be returning to Valencia, the course, where she broke the world half marathon record last on October 22 in a new time of 1:04:51.
Jepkosgei, who had on April 1 last year lowered the world half marathon record to 1:04:52 in Prague, will team up with Mary Wacera, who won silver in 2016 Copenhagen and bronze in 2016 Cardiff.
Fancy Chemutai, who finished second behind Jepkosgei in Valencia, Istanbul Half Marathon champion Ruth Chepng’etich and Pauline Kaveke complete the women’s team.