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SPORTS

Kenyan dream dimmed? Blow as Kamworor pulls out of Olympics

ATHLETICS By Jonathan Komen | July 23rd 2021
Geoffrey Kamworor of Kenya celebrates after crossing the finish line to win the New York City Marathon in Central Park in New York, U.S., November 5, 2017. [Reuters, Brendan McDermid]

Kenyan athletes have no doubt ruled the roost in track and road running across the globe.

But it has not won men’s 10,000m gold medal since the late Naftali Temu did it in 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City. A river of hope emerged during the Olympic national trials when 2015 world 10,000m silver medallist Geoffrey Kamworor dazzled home fans inside Kasarani Stadium last month.

The nation became pregnant with huge expectations even as the Olympic Games start in Tokyo, Japan, today. However, sad news emerged last evening pull out of the summer Games over injury.

He told Standard Sports: “It’s sad that I am out of the Olympics. This problem started two weeks ago when doctors found out that there was a lot of pressure in my knee. An x-ray screen showed that I had sustain a stress fracture. I am disheartened that I will miss the Olympics. I will miss to fight another day.”

Social media were awash with questions on who would replace Kamworor, an athlete billed as a star of all surfaces –cross country, track and road running.

The huge task to reclaim the 10,000m title that has eluded Kenya for 53 years lies on Commonwealth Games 10,000m bronze medallist Rogers Kwemoi.

On the first day of the national trials, Kamworor and Kwemoi staged a brilliant show inside Kasarani Stadium that wowed a sizeable crowd that included Deputy President William Ruto. It was expected that Kamworor would no doubt respond when called upon in Tokyo.

He stormed into the lead mid-way through the race and controlled the race even as Kwemoi and Rhonex Kipruto kept close tabs in a high pace. Kipruto fell before dropping out.

With spectators on their feet, Kamworor deployed the afterburners with a killer sprint that Kwemoi could not respond.

Kamworor, Kwemoi and road racer Weldon Kirui produced good shows in what most athletics enthusiasts including former Prime Minister Raila Odinga remained optimistic about. It was not to be.

Raila, who was the chief guest at the national trials in Kasarani Stadium, said: “You (athletes) are following in the footsteps of our great athletes. We look forward to seeing Kamworor do what Naftali Temu did 53 years ago in Mexico.”

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