NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 31- Kenya has been dealt another major blow just four days to the IAAF World Championships after defending 800m champion David Rudisha was ruled out of the showpiece that gets underway from August 4-13 in London with a quad muscle injury.
This comes just days after Athletics Kenya (AK) confirmed that 400m hurdles defending champion Nicholas Bett was also ruled out with injury meaning Kenya will not have two of its medalists from the last Championship in Beijing in 2015.
“It is a huge disappointment, but that’s part of sport. There are ups and downs and we just have to deal with them. It is a pity that the news is coming in now just as we are preparing to depart, but I will just have to take it in and move on,” a dejected Rudisha told Capital Sport.
— David Rudisha MBS (@rudishadavid) July 31, 2017
Team Kenya coach Bernard Ouma was equally disappointed that Kenya will not have one of its major medal prospects in London.
“We have been given the news by the doctor just now that he might not be able to run well. It is not such a serious injury but the doctors have recommended that he takes a rest to avoid making it worse. It is a huge disappointment for us because we know what David can do not only on the track but his leadership as well,” Ouma said.
Rudisha hopes to be back on the track in just over a month, as advised by the doctor.
“There are many other races ahead and instead of making the injury worse, it is better to take a rest,” he added.
Kenya will now field only three athletes in the event, World Junior Champion Kipyegon Bett, Emmanuel Saruni and 2016 Diamond League winner Ferguson Rotich.
Michael Saruni who had earlier been dropped from the squad cannot be re-entered as the entries have been closed by IAAF.
Despite his absence though, Rudisha remains confident that the trio can bring the gold medal home.
“These are young boys, very exciting and currently enjoying good form. I am confident that even in my absence, they can do something and sweep the medals. They have shown quite some good promise and I have no doubt they will deliver.”
“We now only need to support them all the way,” the World Record holder added.
Rudisha had hoped to get back to the Olympic Stadium in London, a track close to his heart, just five years after breaking the world record during the 2012 Olympics.
“It has a special attachment to my heart and I am looking forward to going back to that special stadium and racing there. Defending my world title at that very same stadium would be special,” he said.