NAIROBI, Kenya, February 26- Women 800m champion, Pamela Jelimo, will not defend her title at the 2014 IAAF World Indoor Championships after Athletics Kenya (AK) declined to select her for the March 7 to 9 biennial closed circuit showpiece.
Speaking to Capital Sport, AK deputy president, David Okeyo, added they had “Decided not to include any runner in the women 800m,” sealing the fate for Jelimo who lifted the crown in Istanbul.
Fellow Istanbul champion, Hellen Obiri will defend her 3000m title against the might of Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba who will also feature at the distance in Sopot, Poland.
Former world junior outdoor champion, Irene Jelagat, will join Obiri in the 3000m race.
Augustine Choge who won silver in the 3000m also made the Kenyan squad together with former World Junior champion, Caleb Mwangangi Ndiku in the squad of eight announced by AK on Wednesday.
Commonwealth 1500m champion, Silas Kiplagat and Bethwell Birgen who has hit form this season will partner in the metric mile event.
Jeremiah Mutai is the lone runner in the men’s 800m with former World Cross junior champion, Viola Kibiwott, running in the women 1500m event to complete the team.
Abraham Kipyego will be the leader of the squad that departs on March 5 and returns on March 10 after the event.
Jelimo, who became the first Kenyan female to run to the World Indoor title, has endured a listless build-up this season, with sixth (2:11.29i), seventh (2:07:06i) and fifth (2:07:52i) finishes in Moscow, Gent and Eaubonne this month failing to inspire confidence she could retain her title.
The 2008 Olympic champion, whose career since that Beijing win had been blighted by injury, timed 1:58.83 for gold with Ukraine’s Nataliia Lupu taking silver in 1:59.67 and American Erica Moore claiming bronze (1:59.97).
Jelimo was selected for the Istanbul squad on the back of a return to solid form with a runner-up finish in the closed circuit IAAF Permit Meeting in Lievin, France where she clocked 1:59:10, her first sub 2:00 performance in two and half years.
Obiri, who denied Ethiopian great Meseret Defar a fifth Indoor title timed 8:37.16 for gold in Turkey, with the favourite taking silver in 8:38.26 ahead of team-mate Gelete Burka in bronze (8:40.18).
The champion has her work cut out against Genzebe, who has broken world records* in three races she has competed this season over 1500, 2000m and 3000m this month.
Genzebe, the World Indoor 1,500m champion will step up the distance to 3000m in Sopot having smashed the world indoor 1500m record with 3:55.17 in Karlsruhe earlier this month.
Five days later, she took six seconds off the world indoor 3000m record with 8:16.60 in Stockholm. Little more than a week later, she set a world indoor best for two miles with a storming 9:00.48 run in Birmingham.
*awaiting usual IAAF ratification procedures
Ndiku Caleb Mwangangi
TEAM LEADER: Abraham Kipyego
Mar 5 March 10