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Young Taki ready to fill Manangói's shoes

Tuesday September 17 2019

National Police Service Elijah Manangoi (right) competes finishes ahead of Kumari Taki (left) in the 1,500m final during the Athletics Kenya National Championship at Nyayo National Stadium on August 22, 2019. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |

National Police Service's Elijah Manangoi (right) finishes ahead of Kumari Taki (left) in the 1,500m final during the Athletics Kenya National Championship at Nyayo National Stadium on August 22, 2019. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

AYUMBA AYODI
By AYUMBA AYODI
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The 2016 World Under-20 1,500m champion Kumari Taki says he is up to the task after he was named to replace the injured World 1,500m champion Elijah Manangói for this month's World Championships.

While withdrawing from the Championships slated for September 27 to October 6 in Doha, Manang'oi, the Commonwealth and Africa 1,500m champion, said an ankle injury he picked in training has locked him out.

“Elijah called me this morning expressing his intentions to withdraw telling me that he believes in me to take up his place,” said Taki.

“It’s quite a humbling gesture from Elijah since most athletes opt to keep quite denying others a chance.”

Taki, who last presented Kenya at last year’s Commonwealth Games, wished Manangói a quick recovery as he plans for next year’s Tokyo Olympic Games.

Athletics Kenya vice president Paul Mutwii disclosed that they have picked Taki, who finished fourth during the national trials, to replace Manangói.

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Mutwii said they are still waiting for a response from Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) regarding the fate of the 5,000m duo of Michael Kibet and Daniel Simiyu, saying there is a possibility of having them replaced with no response from AIU.

The official entry deadline for the Doha event was Monday midnight.

“I have been in great shape the whole of this year, though I finished fourth at the trials. I thank God for this chance and I hope to do well and win a medal in Doha,” said the 20-year-old Taki, who will be making his debut at the World event.

The 26-year-old Manang’oi broke the news on his official Facebook page on Monday saying:“Sad that I am not able to defend my 1,500m title in Doha WC due to an ankle injury I picked in training. I have no choice,” said Manang'oi adding that he will now have to work on rehabilitation before turning his focus to 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

“It’s only God who knows why but I want all my fans across the World to continue having faith in me,” added Manang'oi, who took his time to wish his team mates best of luck in the metric mile race in Doha.

Kenya will still field four athletes by virtue of having the defending champion (Elijah Manang'oi) and Cheruiyot, the Diamond League Series winner.

Others in the team besides Taki are World Under-20 1,500m champion George Manang'oi, who is Elijah’s younger brother, World and Commonwealth 1,500m silver medallist Timothy Cheruiyot and the 2014 Africa 1,500m bronze medallist Ronald Kwemoi.

Kwemoi is making a return to the team after a long lay-off, having lost in the semi-finals of the 1,500m during the 2017 World Championships in London.

It will be Cheruiyot’s third appearance at the World Championships, having settled seventh in the 2015 edition held in Beijing, before going for silver in the 2017 event in London, losing the battle to Elijah.

George, who is also the 2017 World Under-18 1,500m champion, will be making his debut, while Kwemoi, the 2014 Commonwealth Games 1,500m silver medallist, will be making his second appearance.

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