Athletics Kenya (AK) moved swiftly to name Paul Tanui, a silver medallist at the Punta Umbria World Cross in 12km as his replacement in the Daegu team.
Speaking to Capital Sport, Kiprop said he had taken the painful decision to quit the team after the muscle under the right knee pulled up and failed despite every effort made by the team physiotherapists.
“I’m very disappointed but this is the Kenyan team and I could not just stick to the team in full knowledge that I would not perform. I decided to give someone else a chance since I believe my time will come,” he said.
Kiprop, who won the continental title in Nairobi in 27:32.91 before adding the World Half diadem in Nanning, China (60:07) where he ended the four year reign of Eritrea’s Zarsenay Tadese, was preparing for another outing in the Far East in what would have been his maiden World Championships.
“For now, I will see how the recovery process will go and if I recover quickly, I will join the All Africa Games squad but if it takes longer, I will return home and rest.
“You see, the body is not like a vehicle that you can replace the parts and I have to be cautious with what I do since this is not the end of my career though I was looking forward to representing my country.”
Kiprop had not left the team’s camp at the Moi International Sports Centre as he continued his rehabilitation under the team doctors, physiotherapist Peter Nduhiu and medic Victor Bargoria.
“For now, the only thing I can do is to take things easy and motivate the rest of my team mates and I wish Tanui all the luck,” Kiprop, who was nursing yet another injury to his left knee before recovering to race 27:32.9 in his first outing of the season at the Kenyan Championships to finish second in the men 10000m to book a Korea ticket, stated.
The previous injury forced him out of the national team to the Chiba Ekiden Marathon Relay in Japan last year.
His replacement Tanui, who is based in Japan (Team Kyudenko) shot to prominence when he won the national cross country trials for the 2009 Amman World Cross and in March, bravely followed Ethiopian Imane Merga to take silver in the men’s race.
This will be his second selector’s ticket to a major championship after he was given outside selection for last year’s World Cross in Bydgoszcz, Poland where he finished eighth.
“We chose Tanui who was originally in the All Africa Games team because we believe he has the experience and consistency to step in and help the team,” AK relations officer, Peter Angwenyi, told Capital Sport.
Osaka 2007 bronze winner, Martin Irungu Mathathi and surprise package, Peter Kirui, who won the national trials are the other runners in the men 25-lap race line-up for Daegu.
Tanui (27:44.5) was fifth in the selection race.