World marathon record-holder off Kenyan team

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World marathon record-holder off Kenyan team

NAIROBI, Kenya - Kenya left world record-holder Patrick Makau off its Olympic marathon team on Wednesday as distance running’s dominant country cut a bunch of world-class athletes from its group for London.

Makau didn’t make the final list of three men and three women after he failed to finish the London Marathon last weekend because of a hamstring injury.

Instead, London Marathon winner Wilson Kipsang, who finished in two hours, four minutes and 44 seconds, two-time defending world champion Abel Kirui and Chicago titleholder Moses Mosop were the men named by Athletics Kenya for the Olympic race.

Mary Keitany, who won the women’s race in London on Sunday with a time of 2:18:37, will also return to compete in the Olympics. Reigning world champion Edna Kiplagat and Priscah Jeptoo, who finished second at the Worlds, were the other two women selected. All three were on the podium at the London Marathon.

Makau dropped out less than halfway through the men’s race, possibly costing him a place on the team in favor of surprise inclusion Mosop.

Makau ran the fastest time ever in a marathon in Berlin last September, clocking 2:03:38, but hasn’t hit the same form this season, with Mosop putting in better performances in 2012, according to Athletics Kenya.

“We have selected the athletes based on their individual performances after the major marathon races they have participated in this season,’’ AK President Isaiah Kiplagat said.

“If you look at the time posted by Mosop, although he was third in Rotterdam, he has done much better than most athletes.’’

Multiple-time New York and London champion Martin Lel didn’t make it. Geoffrey Mutai, who set a course record in winning last year’s New York Marathon, also missed out. World bronze medalist Sharon Cherop didn’t make the cut for the women.

“It wasn’t an easy task picking the team,’’ Kiplagat said.

The team is still formidable.

Kipsang, the second-fastest marathon runner in history behind Makau at 2:03:42, and world champion Kirui will lead their charge to retain Kenya’s men’s Olympic title in the marathon after the late Sammy Wanjiru won in Beijing four years ago.

Wanjiru died last year after falling from a balcony at his home following a domestic dispute. Despite the country’s prodigious talent in the event, he was the first Kenyan to win Olympic gold in the marathon.

Kenya can also pick a reserve for its men’s and women’s Olympic teams before the June 23 deadline. Federation President Kiplagat said the choice for men’s backup would likely be between Makau and Mutai.

AP

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