BERLIN, August 21 – Kenya’s preparations for the men’s marathon on the penultimate day of the World Championships were dealt a major blow when Daniel Rono was ruled out with injury.
Rono who was runners up in Boston marathon earlier this year turned his ankle when on a morning run at the Tiergarten (big garden) next to the team’s Hotel Berlin Berlin on Friday morning.
Team officials told Capital sport that after examining, doctors ordered him to rest the ankle for one month.
“The doctors spent a long time with him and advised him to rest for a month. Naturally he is shattered by the news as he was looking forward to representing Kenya,” said Kenya’s media liaison officer Peter Angwenyi.
The news was heartbreaking for Rono who had been set to make his debut for Kenya having declared on Tuesday that ‘Impossible is Possible’ during a meeting with Minister for Sports Helen Sambili on Tuesday.
The injury also put breaks on a rapidly growing career during which Rono won his first three career marathons at Madrid, Mumbai and Toronto and has never finished worse than third with his best year in 2008 where he ran a PR 2:06:58 at Rotterdam and made the awards podium at New York City.
He kept that streak alive in 2009 at Boston where he held off Ryan Hall to secure the runner-up position in 2:09:32.
His withdrawal leaves four Kenyans with the task of defending the title won by Luke Kibet in Osaka two years ago.
But despite this setback Kenya still posses a team capable of winning with four Time Boston marathon champion Robert Mwafrika Cheruiyot, Abel Kirui, Benjamin Kiptoo and Emmanuel Mutai.
Cheruiyot is looking to make up for missing Beijing Olympics with a hip injury as well as making up for a DNF (did not finish) in Boston earlier this year. The former winner of the World Marathon Majors is keen to remind everyone of his abilities.
Mutai has twice finished fourth in London in 2008 and 2009 while Able Kirui ran 2:05.04 in Rotterdam.
The final Kenya in the race is Kiptoo- a virtual unknown who only started training in 2005. The 30 year old was a classmate of Cheruiyot and since then has made rapid improvement climaxing with winning Rome marathon earlier this year in 2:07:17.
Kenya’s biggest obstacle to retaining the gold will emanate from Ethiopian duo of Tsegaye Kebede and Deriba Merga.
The former won bronze in Beijing and was second in London this year while the latter was fourth at the Olympics in Beijing before winning in Boston this year.
Double World champion Jaouad Gharib will be chasing his third world title but a back injury means he goes into the race at less than 100 percent fit.
Reigning silver medallist Mubarak Shami will also be hoping to improve on his Osaka showing.
And in a departure from tradition, the marathon will be run on a 10 kilometre loop with athletes going round the circuit four times before finishing at the Bradenburg Gates.