Athletics Athletics

Keitany out of London title defense


KEITANY-WINSNAIROBI, Kenya, January 30 -London marathon champion Mary Keitany will not defend her title in April.

Keitany, 31, said she felt unfit and will not rush her body back to fitness simple to make up for the numbers in London. The London marathon will be held on April 21.

“I had the invite to return to London and defend my title, but I do not feel am in the right shape so I will not be defending my crown. However, I will return to London in the future to compete,” she said in Iten.

Keitany was non-committal on whether she will be ready to compete in August at the World Championships in Moscow.

“I have to be cautious. I have not been training and maybe if I get back to form, I will challenge for a slot in the Kenya team. But for now, I have to wait maybe in September I will be ready to consider running in Berlin.”

“There are many Kenyans going to London, and I believe they can represent us well. Edna (Kiplagat) and Florence Kiplagat are both strong and then we have Priscah Jeptoo. The Kenyan line up is strong,” she said.

Keitany’s withdrawal does not in anyway water down the challenge as Edna Kiplagat (2:19:50), Berlin marathon champion Florence Kiplagat (2:19:44), and two-time Olympian Lucy Kabuu (2:19:34) battling in the duel. Florence is also the 2010 world half-marathon champion.

Kenya will also be hoping that Gladys Chepkirui, the 10,000m African champion will succeed on her debut in London.

Chepkirui, winner of the 2010 Africa cross country championships and World half marathon, dropped out of the 10,000m at the London Olympics, but had returned strongly in the local meetings. She has a personal best of 1:07 in the 21km distance.

But she will not be the only one making her debut in London. Three-time Ethiopia’s Olympic gold medalist Tirunesh Dibaba will also run her inaugural marathon in London.

Dibaba, an eight-time world champion, won Britain’s Great North Run half-marathon last year in 1:07:35 in her longest road race.