NAIROBI, September 25 – Olympic marathon champion Samuel Kamau Wanjiru has withdrawn from this year’s World Half Marathon Championships.
The 21 year old was included in a 14 member team selected by Athletics Kenya to represent the country at the championships set for Rio de Janeiro on October 12.
But speaking to Capital Sport on Thursday, Wanjiru said that he would not compete citing lack of adequate training time.
“The championships are less than a month away and I haven’t even started training so it will not be possible for me to compete in Brazil,” said Wanjiru.
Wanjiru who won the Porto Half marathon on Sunday in Portugal on Saturday said he is already focusing on next year.
“I am already making plans for next year’s calendar because I have set personal goals which I intend to achieve,” he said.
Other athletes selected in the team include Patrick Makau Musyoki, Francis Kibiwott, Joseph Nganga, Mekubo Mogusu, Elijah Keitany and Stephen Kibiwott.
Experienced Pamela Chepchumba leads the women’s team which also has Philies Ongori, Peninah Arusei, Julia Mumbi, Lenah Jemutai Cheruiyot, Philomena Cheyech and Pauline Wangui.
The Olympic champion has some unfinished business with the half marathon championships. Having gone in as a heavy favourite in Udine last year, he suffered a knee injury limping home in 51st place and he will be keen to put that record straight.
Musyoki finished second behind Zersanny Tadesse in last year’s event will be hoping to go one better.
Currently the fastest man in the over the half marathon following his World record of 58:33, Wanjiru was a favourite to win in Rio.
He became the first Kenyan to win an Olympic gold medal at the Beijing Olympics when he set a new Olympic record of 2:06.32 on his way to victory.
It capped an amazing debut year in marathon for the youngster who has now run three marathons all under 2:07. He made his debut in the 42 kilometre event in December 2007 wining Fukuoka marathon in 2:06.39.
He followed it up with a new personal best of 2:05.24 as he finished second in London marathon this year before his heroics in Beijing.