Water mix-up blamed for Korir, Biwott Rio marathon DNFs

(FromL) Eritrea's Ghirmay Ghebreslassie, US Galen Rupp and Kenya's Wesley Kipchumba Korir run during the ...
(FromL) Eritrea's Ghirmay Ghebreslassie, US Galen Rupp and Kenya's Wesley Kipchumba Korir run during the Men's Marathon athletics event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on August 21, 2016. Adrian DENNIS / AFP

The possibility of an all-Kenyan podium sweep in Sunday’s Rio 2016 Olympics marathon was effectively ruined after an embarrassing mix-up that saw water bottles belonging to 2012 Boston Marathon champion, Wesley Korir switched with that of Stanley Biwott.

Both Korir and Biwott, the New York champion did not finish the race after stomach problems from consumption of the incompatible drinks.

“Today we ran as a team and for the first half of the race, I believed that we were going to accomplish something special; a Kenyan sweep of the podium,” Korir told.

“Our team was setting the pace and I knew that our training had prepared all three of us for a strong finish.  An unfortunate mishap on the course derailed these aspirations for Biwott and me,” he added.

The Cherangany Member of Parliament condemned National Olympics Committee-Kenya’s officials for the water mix-up during the final event of the 31st Olympics saying the drinks handed to them caused them severe stomach problems.

“The Kenyan officials can’t even get water handling right!!! Very pissed off right now!!!” He lashed out through his Twitter account.

His sentiments married those of Biwott who in a Facebook post in his official wall, corroborated his compatriot’s account as Kenyans not familiar with the whole furore about special drinks took to social media to slate the athletes for offering what they termed as lame excuses.

“We prepare special drinks that have different tastes. My bottle and that of Wesley were of the same colour except each had our names written on them.”

“My special water usually has a sugary taste. On reaching 30km they gave me drinks which had citric taste instead. I immediately felt stomach aches although I tried to run through the pain,” Biwott explained.

He added that when he was later handed yet another wrong bottle of water as he approached the 35km mark, his stomach had had enough and that he could not withstand the pain any longer. So he pulled out.

Korir, who is a 2010 Los Angeles Marathon winner, pledged to lobby for change in the management of Nock and Athletics Kenya (AK) in Parliament.

“My experience as an Olympian has shown me that Athletics Kenya needs to be improved if we are going to sustain success in athletics.

“When I return to the National Assembly I will work with my colleagues in parliament to implement changes that will position us well for the years ahead,” the 33 year-old asserted.

The legislator also accused the nature in which the officials rendered their services that forced him to borrow water at some stage.

“I missed my drinks three times due to poor water officials handling and had to borrow Eliud’s at some point too which made me throw up in the middle of the race,” he added.

The mixed-water debacle is the latest in a string of bloopers blamed on Nock whose officials have been put on warning by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

London marathon champion, Eliud Kipchoge took the gold ahead of Feyisa Lilesa of Ethiopia and American Galen Rupp who won silver and bronze.

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Story By Edward Mokuah
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