David Rudisha latest top Kenyan to withdraw from global event

By OMULO OKOTH

Nairobi, Kenya: Kenya’s Olympic 800m champion and world record holder, David Rudisha, has withdrawn from the World Championships to be held in Moscow between August 10-18, his management team said on Tuesday.

“It is not just possible for David (Rudisha) to effectively defend his world title in Moscow, so we announced today morning his withdrawal,” his coach, Bro Colm O’Connell told FeverPitch on Tuesday.

Speaking on telephone from Iten in the Rift Valley’s high altitude training area, the Irish former teacher, who has nurtured some talented middle distance runners, said Rudisha’s manager, James Templeton, has already informed Athletics Kenya (AK) and International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) the development.

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Other top Kenyans who have withdrawn from this year’s global competition in Moscow are world marathon champion, Abel Kirui, women’s and men’s world marathon silver medallists Prisca Jeptoo and Vincent Kipruto, world 10,000m and 5,000m champion Vivian Cheruiyot and world and Olympics 10,000m silver medallist, Sally Kipyego.

But Rudisha’s and Cheruiyot’s absence will be a big blow to Kenyans, who dominated the middle and distance races in Daegu, South Korea, two years ago.

“He is improving, but we are conscious of time factor. It’s only one month left to World Championships and we don’t want to push him so hard and make it difficult for his recovery. We don’t want to endanger a recurrence,” said Bro Colm.

“We wanted to give him as much time as possible (to recover) and, for the past five weeks that he has been in Germany for treatment, his recovery is on course but we thought it was not good enough for him to participate in a global competition,” he said.

“We also do not want him to go to Moscow if he is not in good shape for the competition,” he said.

Kenya, a major global middle and distance running powerhouse held its trials for the global competition last Saturday where a team was named for the World Championships.

Rudisha, who did not participate because of the injury, was tipped to get a wild card (automatic selection), but he was not named in the team.

Instead, Anthony Chemut, Ferguson Rotich and Jeremiah Mutai were named for the two-lap event.

Rudisha and Cheruiyot are arguably the biggest names to pull out of the competition.

But while the nation is worrying over the high-profile withdrawals, Cheruiyot was positive about Kenyans’ chances of dominating the competition again.

“If they (Ethiopians) make a mistake of celebrating because I am not in the team, they will be in for a rude awakening. This squad (10,000m) is very good and strong.

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“In fact, Gladys Cherono is a tough athlete who is capable of beating Tirunesh Dibaba and those Europeans. She gave her a real fight in Ostrava last week,” said the heavily-pregnant double world champion, who also won silver (5,000m) and bronze (10,000m) in London Olympics last summer, in the sidelines of last Satutday’s trials.

Meanwhile, the camp is opening today at the Moi Kasarani Sports Centre.

All track and field athletes will be camping at Kasarani, while the 10-person marathon team will be camping at the high-altitude training camp in Iten.

Athletics Kenya will officially launch the camp in Iten on Friday.

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David Rudisha International Association of Athletics Federations Athletics Kenya