Injured Cherono out of Rio after London miss- AK

Gladys Cherono after setting a new Ottawa record in the 10K race at Tamarack Ottawa ...
Gladys Cherono after setting a new Ottawa record in the 10K race at Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend

Athletics Kenya (AK) will not select Berlin Marathon champion, Gladys Cherono for the Rio 2016 Olympics after she was forced to pull out of the women’s elite race of London on Wednesday with injury.

Speaking to Citizen Digital, AK vice-president in charge of Administration and Competitions, Paul Mutwii, ruled out the possibility of Cherono, the fastest female marathoner in the world last year of  consideration for the August Olympics, dealing a blow to her ambitions to run for the country in Brazil.

“There is no way you can consider her because there will be no time for training even if she will be okay by that time. There is no way we can consider her,” Mutwii said.

He added plans to select the team for Rio from the crop of marathoners who will have ran races until April 30 is still on course.

Cherono was forced out of the elite women’s London race after sustaining a hip injury, according to the event’s website.

After recording a 2:19:25 world best at the Berlin Marathon in September 2015, the 2013 World 10,000m silver medalist was favorite to lift the  London title on April 24.

“I was going on with my preparations for the marathon when I injured my hip but I have started jogging and doing light stretches as I continue with my recovery process,” Cherono said from Eldoret.

“I feel sad that am going to miss this race because apart from it being my first time to race in London I was going to use it as part of my preparations for the Olympics,” the 32 year-old former double African distance champion added as soon as her withdrawal from London was announced.

However, the federation have put paid any hopes she had of making an Olympics debut following Mutwii’s declaration on Thursday.

Cherono’s withdrawal leaves training partner Mary Keitany and two-time winner at the UK capital will lead the Kenyan women’s team to London along with world half marathon record holder and former Berlin winner Florence Kiplagat, New York City Marathon champion Jemima Sumgong and former London  champion Priscah Jeptoo.

Keitany who will be seeking a third London victory will face stiff competition from Ethiopia’s Tigisit Tufa (2015 champion) together with 2010 London Champion Mare Dibaba and former Paris Marathon champion Feyse Tadese.

Cherono’s pulling out comes just days after the 2011 Boston marathon champion Geoffrey Mutai withdrew from this year’s Boston race, who cited failure to hit his training goals as the reason behind the move.

Others who withdrew from the April 24 World Marathon Majors race include Morocco’s Abdelmajid El Hissouf in the men’s race and former world junior champion Purity Cherotich Rionoripo in the women’s event.

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Story By John Kyanda
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