Marathon test awaits Kenyans in Moscow

Wednesday August 7 2013

PHOTO | MOHAMMED AMIN Lucy Kabuu, of the Kenya women marathon team, trains at Kasarani on August 5, 2013.

PHOTO | MOHAMMED AMIN Lucy Kabuu, of the Kenya women marathon team, trains at Kasarani on August 5, 2013. NATION MEDIA GROUP

By AYUMBA AYODI [email protected]

Kenya’s chances of staging another clean sweep in women’s marathon at the World Championships in Athletics seems to be diminishing, with only two athletes from an original squad of four in Moscow for the 2013 competition.

Women’s marathon will be the first final at the World Championships, going down on Saturday at 12pm Kenyan time.

Defending champion Edna Kiplagat and Lucy Kabuu are the only athletes who made it to Moscow on Tuesday morning after Team Kenya’s flight to Moscow on Monday afternoon was cancelled due to lack of jet fuel.

Left behind

Valentine Kipketer was left behind when the team left on Tuesday morning, while Margaret Akai was secretly axed from the team owing to an injury. Kipketer was left stranded, with no official from Athletics Kenya to sort out her travel issues as most of them had travelled to Moscow.

Kipketer, winner of the 2013 Mumbai Marathon in 2hrs, 24:20min, was left asleep at the Laico Regency Hotel when the team departed on Tuesday morning and was hoping to catch a flight to Moscow on Wednesday night.

However, the fire at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport Wednesday morning left her stranded after all the incoming and outgoing flights were cancelled. Kipketer was eagerly awaiting communication from Emirate Airlines regarding her next flight.

Worn out

“We were so tired when we arrived at Laico Regency and most of us went to straight to sleep hoping the team management would communicate on the next flight,” said Kipketer. “I just found myself alone in the hotel.”

“I also don’t know when the next flight is due after the mishap at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. Emirate Airlines are yet to communicate to me,” said Kipketer.

Akai, who won the 2013 Daegu International Marathon in 2:23.28, was dropped after the coaches thought that she would aggravate her left knee injury if she competes in Moscow.

“We thought it would be a disaster for Akai to compete with an injury since if it worsens, it may lock her out for many years,” said coach Abraham Kiplimo, who has been training the men and women’s marathon teams in Iten.

Trained with team

“We kept her in training since we thought the injury would heal on time.”

Kiplimo said Akai will heal in time for next year’s Commonwealth Games slated for Scotland. “She shouldn’t wary because she will have another chance next year,” said Kiplimo.

Men’s marathon team of Paris Marathon champion Peter Some, 2012 Tokyo Marathon champion Michael Kipyego, Bernard Koech,  Bernard Kipyego and Nicholas Kemboi will leave next Tuesday ready for their race that will be held on the last day of the event on August 18.

Elsewhere, the star-studded American team is ready to impress at the World Athletics Championships that start in Moscow at the weekend, men’s head coach Mike Holloway said on Wednesday.

And Holloway is expecting the team to set the world alight.