• World champion withdraws from team to world championships due to a knee injury.
• Cheruiyot, Kwemoi and George Manang'oi already assured of ticket to Doha.
2016 world Under-18 1,500m champion Kumari Taki is set to benefit from world champion Elijah Manang’oi withdrawal form Team Kenya to the 2019 World Championships in Doha, Qatar through injury.
Manang’oi has been nursing an ankle injury he picked during training. The injury also forced him out of the national trials last week though he was eligible for his title defence through a wild card.
Through a post on his Facebook account, Manang’oi said: “Sad that I am not able to defend my 1,500m title in Doha WC (World Championships) due to an ankle injury I picked in training. I had no choice.
"We have to save the career for the sake of the Olympic year. It’s not my fault.
"But God knows the reason why. All my fans in the world, continue to have faith in me.
"All the best to my teammates, world silver medalist Timothy Cheruiyot and my younger brother, world junior champion George Manang’oi and Ronald Kwemoi.
"Bring it back home guys. To all competitors and event organisers, make Doha a fun-filled and successful event. See you next season. God bless you all.”
In his absence, Athletics Kenya (AK) vice president in charge of competition Paul Mutwii observed that they will look at Taki, who was placed fourth at the trials, since the winner of last Friday’s final, Timothy Cheruiyot, is also eligible for a wild card. Kumari is also the 2015 World U18 gold medallist from Cali, Colombia and a seventh-place finisher at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
“We are now going to look at the fourth-placed finisher during our trials, Kumari Taki, and if he meets the requirements (qualification by time and three out-of-competition anti-doping tests) then we will pick on him. If he doesn’t, then we will sift through the results of the final race at the trials for a suitable replacement,” said Mutwii, adding that the decision will arrive at today.
Rongai Athletics Club coach Bernard Ouma, under whose the quartet of the Manang’oi brothers, Cheruiyot and Taki trains, said it is sad that elder Manang’oi will miss out on his title defence. However, he counts on George to keep the name on the world map.
“We had a meeting between Manang’oi, the doctor and I and after some tests, he did not do very well and that’s why we decided that he withdraws from the World Championships team,” said Ouma.
“We did not want him to go to Doha with any pain or discomfort. In addition, he already has a world championship medal and this gives us ample time to concentrate on the Tokyo Olympic Games.”
Manang’oi will be chasing the Olympics title after withdrawing from the Rio 2016 Games semi-finals with a hamstring injury.
“The good thing is that the Manang’oi name will still be at the World Championships where George is ready to represent his brother in spirit,” added Ouma. “However, Manag’oi’s absence has wiped off my morale for the Worlds.”