NAIROBI, Kenya, September 25 – Former world 5,000m champion, Eliud Kipchoge and Daegu women 10,000m fourth finisher, Priscah Jepleting Cherono, were on Tuesday drafted into the Kenyan World Half Marathon team.
Kipchoge who missed a chance to compete for his nation at the 2012 London Olympics will replace Paris marathon champion Stanley Biwott while Cherono has been brought in for London Marathon fifth finisher, Lucy Kabuu, who has withdrawn from the October 6 event in Kavarna, Bulgaria.
“Kipchoge made an impressive half marathon debut in Lille where he ran 59:25 and Cherono also ran 68:75 at the same event and that is why we considered them for the team,” Athletics Kenya (AK) relations officer, Peter Angwenyi, said on Tuesday.
Philemon Limo, John Mwangangi, Pius Maiyo and Steve Kosgei complete the men’s squad while Pascalia Chepkorir, Lydia Cheromei, Pauline Njeri and Peninah Arusei are the other women competitors.
Kenya will be defending both the men and women titles after Wilson Kiprop and Florence Kiplagat breasted the tape ahead of all challengers during the 2010 edition in Nanning, China.
Meanwhile, AK has decried the stringent entry rules in Bulgaria that has made acquisition of visas for the team difficult.
Speaking in Nairobi, AK boss and IAAF Council Member, Isaiah Kiplagat, said such difficulties would discourage nations from entering international events if an immediate solution was sought.
“The only problem we are facing at the moment is the visas. This is a matter we shall raise at the IAAF Council in Barcelona in November because we are getting really worried with the visas.”
“The only consulates we have for Bulgaria are in Abuja, Nigeria and Yemen and they will not give you a visa unless your passports are in Abuja. They also said they cannot issue visas on arrival,” Kiplagat lamented.
“These are obstacles that in future could make it difficult for countries to participate in races in countries that have problems in getting visas. We have raised these issues with IAAF for a long time and we shall raise it again,” the AK boss charged.
The federation announced the initial squad in August and the athletes urged to step up training before converging in residential camp in Nairobi next week ahead of their departure to Bulgaria.
Kiplagat confirmed that the passports for Kenyan competitors had already been sent to Abuja for processing.