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Mutai replaces Mosop in Olympic squad

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NAIROBI, Kenya, June 12- Emmanuel Mutai, the 2011 London winner has replaced injured Moses Mosop in the Kenyan men Olympics marathon squad.

Confirming the development on Tuesday, Athletics Kenya (AK) boss Isaiah Kiplagat also announced Paris Marathon titleholder has been placed on standby.

“We have received a letter from Mosop and his doctor saying he cannot compete and we have made the change,” Kiplagat declared.

Mosop, the Chicago Marathon winner and course record holder, is suffering from tendon injury that has now ruled him out from London.

Mutai, the silver medallist from the 2009 Worlds, finished seventh in defense of his London title in April thereby missing out on automatic selection.

The 27-year-old set the London course record of 2:04:40 last year and won the $500,000 World Marathon Majors jackpot after finishing second at the New York marathon last year completing a cycle that started with placing second in London in 2010.

Despite falling sick in the closing stages of the race in Berlin, Mutai crossed the line in 2:07:48 for silver to complete the first ever Kenyan 1-2 at a major event with Abel Kirui, his teammate for London taking the gold.

“Emmanuel is a good runner and he helped Abel to the world title. It is unfortunate for Mosop but in this country, any runner is good as the other and we still remain confident of retaining our Olympic title,” Kiplagat added.

He explained they were yet to receive a report on why world record holder, Patrick Makau and last year’s Boston and New York marathon titleholder, Geoffrey Mutai on what caused them to drop out of London and Boston races in April.

“Emmanuel was on the standby list and we have to look outside the major marathons for the next on the list and that is why we have picked on Biwott,” he added.

Mutai, the first born in a family of six (four boys, two girls), started running while attending Cheptigit and Koisagat primary schools.

He went on running when he joined Samoei Secondary School (2000-2003) this time branching out to add cross country as well. He achieved his best result while in form 3, in 2002, by finishing tenth at provincial level.

A keen student, his dream was to pursue higher education and Illinois University had expressed an interest in him.

But it took too long for him to sit for the SATs (Scholastic Assessment Tests) and while waiting, he decided to try running.

With Global Sports Camp in close proximity, he started training with the camp’s athletes though he had not been drafted yet.

“I got a chance to train with the likes of Felix Limo and Richard Limo and this gave me confidence that I could make it,” Mutai told IAAF’s Focus on Athletes project.

WOMEN 10000m TRIAL: CHERUIYOT TO DOUBLE

Meanwhile, the federation has shifted the forthcoming National Championships from Nyayo National Stadium to Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.

“Athletes requested us to use Kasarani since the track is softer and they want to avoid injury,” Kiplagat explained.

The event that runs from Thursday to Saturday will be used to select the London women 10000m team as well as act as qualifying rounds for other distance races.

Kiplagat confirmed that women Daegu double world champion, Vivian Cheruiyot, Sally Kipyego (silver 10000m) and Linet Masai (2009 women 10000m) are among the stellar athletes who had indicated their willingness to contest for London tickets in both 5000m and 10000m races.

“Cheruiyot has indicated her wish to compete at both races and the one week we have between the Nationals and Trials is enough for those interest in doubling to rest,” the chair expressed.

During the Nationals, the qualifying rounds of other distance races including the steeple will be conducted with the semifinals set for June 21, two days before the London Trials.

“We shall only have straight finals on June 23 since we want to give the qualifiers enough time to recover and be in their best shape,” the federation chief explained.”

4X400m RELAY MEN: RUDISHA INCLUDED

At the same time, the federation boss announced that world record holder, David Rudisha will compete in the men 4x400m relay team.

However, AK will seek to request him to compete at the Benin Africa Championships in the relay only in a bid to ensure the country retains its number 8 ranking in the world.

“We have sent a letter to his agent expressing our wish to see him run in Benin since countries such as Nigeria, South Africa and Ghana among others will send strong teams there and we require to remain in the top 16 in the world to compete in London,” the chair explained.

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