Kenya’s Emmanuel Korir is out of the World Indoor Championships that started on Thursday in Birmingham, United Kingdom after he failed to secure his visa on time.
Korir, who was favourite to win the men’s 800m race, has been placed in lane five of the first heat that goes down at 9.13pm (Kenyan time) on Friday.
Korir withdrew as Kenya’s Hellen Obiri faltered in her quest to recapture women’s 3,000m title on Thursday night, finishing fourth in a race where Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba sealed her third consecutive victory in 8:45.05.
Korir broke the news on his Facebook account on Thursday posted at the New York City Centre saying, “Missing the World Indoor Championships tomorrow because of #systemisdown!!!?”
“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as we accept the one that’s waiting for us,” explained Korir in his status. “When you work hard for your dreams some people don’t care but God is great. Isn’t the end of everything.”
Korir, who had applied for his United Kingdom visa in New York, was due to make a return after a flop at the London World Championships last year despite going into the event as hot favourite.
Athletics Kenya executive committee member Barnaba Korir indicated that the athlete’s coach Paul Ereng had communicated indicating that the systems at the British embassy in New York were down hence difficult to process his athlete’s travelling documents.
“It’s a shame Korir could not obtain a visa. We have been in New York for a whole week and we are now heading back to Texas today after the hitch,” said Ereng in a text message to Korir.
Korir was touted as the possible winner of the race by virtue of having smashed the African and National Indoor record with victory in 800m at the NYRR Millrose Indoor Games in New York on February 3.
Korir clocked a world leading time of 1 minute and 44.21 seconds, erasing the previous African record of 1:44.52 set by Ethiopian Mohammed Aman at Aviva Indoor Grand Prix on February 15, 2014, Birmingham, United Kingdom.
Korir was hoping to make amends in Birmingham after he stunningly failed to pull through the semi-finals in 800m outdoor at the World Championships in London last year.
Obiri won the 3,000m title in 2012 before losing the battle to Dibaba to settle for silver in 2014.
Content to sit at the back of the field for the first kilometre, the 27-year-old Dibaba surged with just under 2,000m remaining and was never seriously challenged, galloping to victory in 8:45.05.
Great Britain’s Laura Muir picked up bronze, narrowly failing to overtake the Netherlands’ Sifan Hassan in the closing stages.
Dibaba is back in action on Friday in the first round of the 1500m, where she will face Kenya’s Beatrice Chepkoech and Winny Chebet.
Also in action on Friday are Kenyans Bethwell Birgen and Davis Kiplagat in the men’s 3,000m final.