The women’s marathon team will not leave on Sunday for Qatar where it will compete in the 2019 World Championships programmed to start on September 27 to October 6 in Doha, team manager Joseph Kiget has clarified.
Kiget on Friday said that the team, led by two-time World marathon champion Edna Kiplagat, will instead leave for Doha with other Team Kenya athletes on Tuesday at midnight on a Qatar Airways flight.
Kiget also clarified that men’s marathon team, steered by defending champion Geoffrey Kirui, will leave on October 2. Others in men’s marathon team are Amos Kipruto, Paul Lonyangata and Laban Korir. Besides the 2009 and 2011 champion Kiplagat, others in the women’s team are Ruth Chepng’etich and Visiline Jepkesho.
Kenya will be seeking to recapture women’s marathon title when the competition is staged on September 27 shortly before midnight, while the men’s race will also go down on October 6 at midnight.
FLAG HAND OVER
Kiget was speaking at the team’s training base at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, shortly after receiving the national flag from Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed.
“Team Kenya is ready and rearing to go. We have done everything we could and what is remaining is for Kenyans to pray for us,” said Kiget, adding that Team Kenya officials are cognisant of the climatic conditions that awaits them in Doha.
He said that besides Kasarani, the team trained in Machakos and Ruiru that have almost similar weather conditions as Doha.
Amina, who handed over the national flag to Team Kenya captain and 2015 World javelin champion, Julius Yego, conveyed President Uhuru Kenyatta’s greetings and well wishes to the team.
“The President is praying for you as you prepare to leave. He will closely be following every performance in Doha and he wishes you best of luck,” Amina said, adding that athletes’ allowances would be paid on Monday before the team’s departure the following day. Amina said she will later on join the team in Doha.
World 3,000 metres steeplechase champion Conseslus Kipruto again assured the country that he has fully recovered from a leg injury and is ready to defend his title.
“My body feels great and I am good to go,” declared Kipruto, who had failed to finish his race both at the African Games and at the national trials for the World Championships.
Kenya will be hoping to improve on get points tally from the 2017 World Championships in London, where the country won 11 medals of five gold, two silver and four bronze to finish second in the medal standings.
The team's performance in London was fairly good, considering that Kenya topped the medal standings for the first time at the 2015 championship in Beijing with seven gold medals, six silver and three bronze medals.