By Omulo Okoth in London and Hassan Jumaa
Outgoing Olympic champion Asbel Kiprop disclosed that he was injured on the final day of training in Nairobi, which affected his performance at this Olympics in which he finished last in the 1,500m final. He was the defending champion.
In what emerged as an embarrassing development to Team Kenya in a night of heartache where Kenya lost one of the gold medals they won in Beijing four years ago, four top athletes apparently carried injuries from Nairobi. Whether officials knew it is not clear.
Joyce Chepkurui dropped out of the 10,000m final and later said she was injured in Nairobi. Wilson Kiprop was also injured in Nairobi and did not finish his 10,000m race. Steeplechaser Milka Chemos Chewya finished fourth and was carried out of the track for treatment.
Commonwealth champion Silas Kiplagat finished seventh on Tuesday while Nixon Chepseba was 11th, just one step ahead of Kiprop.
“I came here with a hamstring injury. I felt it during the preliminaries but it kind of healed in the semi-finals on Tuesday.
Today, I felt it in the morning and went for massage at the Nike office. But it did not heal hence my performance."
“I ask Kenyans to understand and accept that the race has been won,” said Kiprop, adding: “I would have withdrawn from the race, but I felt my presence in the starting line was important to cheer up the team members although they knew my situation very well,” he said.
A lot was expected of Kiprop who was awarded the 1500m gold medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics after the original winner, Rashid Ramzi, tested positive for doping but failed to live upto his credentials and Silas Kiplagat the reigning Commonwealth champion lacked the killer instincts as he was unable to wriggle out of the pack.
Algeria’s Makhoufi won Algeria her first Gold medal when he obliterated the crowd to rope home in a time of 3:34:08 minutes with United States of America’s Leonel Manzano coming in second in a time of 3:34:79.morocco’s Abdalaati Iguider was third in a time of 3:35:13 minutes.
Kiplagat finished a distant seventh in a time of 3:36:19 minutes. Nixon Kiplimo Chepseba was 11th in a time of 3:39:04 minutes with Kiprop finishing a disappointing 12th in a time of 3:43:83 minutes, one of the worst performances in Kenya’s history.
Sources pointed at in fighting among top officials in the Kenyan contigent between the NOCK officials and their Athletics Kenya counterparts which is said to be impacting the athletes badly.