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AK bans Moscow athletes from London DL meet

ISAIAH-KIPLANGATNAIROBI, Kenya, July 23 – With the World Championships set for Moscow in just over a fortnight, Athletics Kenya (AK) has pulled out runners selected in the country’s team for Moscow from competing in this weekend’s London Diamond league meet.

Isaiah Kiplagat, AK, said Tuesday competing at the event would burn out local stars and dim their potential ahead of the premier track and field meeting, which starts in Moscow on August 10-18.

“I tell you this that if an athlete runs a personal best or a world lead time in a one day meeting like in London, just two weeks prior to the World Championships, it requires longer time to recover,” he said in Nairobi.

“We are not ready to take that risk and on that reason, I have ordered that no athlete from Kenya, who will be making the trip to Moscow, is permitted to run in London on Friday or Saturday.”

So there will be no clash between Beijing 2008 bronze winner Edwin Soi, Isaiah Kiplangat or London Olympics bronze medallist, Thomas Longosiwa challenging Britain’s Mo Farah in the 3,000m as expected.

Instead Farah will have to test his endurance against his training partner Olympic 10,000m silver medallist American Galen Rupp who will be joined by fellow American and Olympic 1500m silver medallist Leo Manzano.

Steeplechase sensation, Conseslus Kipruto, the World junior titleholder who has beaten Olympic champion, Ezekiel Kemboi twice this season and last year’s Diamond League winner in the men 1500m, Nixon Chepseba, where other star runners in the Moscow team penned for London,

Kiplagat said that anyone, who defies his order, will have to forfeit his place in the team.

This will not be the first time for AK to do that. In 2009, Sammy Kitwara won in the 10,000m event during the trials for the World Championships in Berlin.

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He defied the warning and went ahead to participate at the Peach Tree Road Race in America shortly after and he was subsequently withdrawn from the team.

Two year later, Leonard Komon, the 10km and 15km world record holder, also suffered the same fate by disobeying orders after making the team to represent the country at the Punta Umbria World Cross in 2011.

He run in Puerto Rico and was dropped out and has remained out of national team ever since.

At the same time, there will be no chance for Kenyan athletes to double in Moscow, as the country wants to restrict runners to keep their focus on their speciality.

Kiplagat said, every athlete must run in his event. This has since sealed the fate of World 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop, who had a wild card in the four lap race and had the qualification time to double up in the 800m, now that Olympic and World Champions David Rudisha is out injured.

Vivian Cheruiyot, was the first successful Kenya to double and win at the World Championships in both 5,000 and 10,000m distances. Isabella Ochichi did it in Helsinki 2005 while Tegla Loroupe tried and failed in 1999 Seville World Championships.

Meanwhile, Kiplagat sent out a stern warning to teachers who are fond of sneaking athletes out of the country.

Kiplagat said teachers are colluding with agents to take young athletes, who have no legal contracts, out of the country without permission of guardians and the federation.

“We have received reports about athletes who are stranded in Venezuela, Philippines, Mexico and Italy and we as the federation are just wondering how they got there without our permission,” said Kiplagat.

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The federation boss said this when he received the Kenya team, which had gone to Donetsk, Ukraine for the World Youth Championships, where they finished second to Jamaica.

He added they might bid for the 2019 World Youth Championships but on condition that the government will support them.

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