Nairobi, Aug 19 : Kenya will have to rely on fresh talent after world record holder Beatrice Chepkoech and former world champion Hyvin Kiyeng withdrew from the African Games in Rabat, Morocco.
Athletics events start on August 26. The duo is expected to carry the flag at the World Championships later in the year in Doha, Qatar. "I want to focus on the Diamond League and the World Championships," Chepkoech said on Monday.
"Kenya has enough talent, young energetic athletes bubbling with confidence, eager to showcase their talent. Let them carry the flag in Morocco." Head coach Julius Kirwa says they will bring in two athletes to join Mercy Wanjiku in the steeplechase.
Another athlete that also gives the African Games a bye is Continental Cup 800m silver medalist Emmanuel Korir.
The US-based athlete was due to compete in the 400m race at the African Games but has opted to focus on Diamond League.
His place has since been taken by former national 400m champion Alphas Kishoyian, who will team up with Joseph Poghisio and Raymond Bett.
Chepkoech, Kiyeng, and Korir are all in contention for Diamond League grand finale in Zurich on August 29.
Athletics Kenya senior deputy president Paul Mutwii has said the Kenya team to African Games is strong enough to wrestle with Uganda and Ethiopia in the middle and long-distance races.
He added that the country will hold national trials to select the men's and women's 10,000m team in Nairobi on Tuesday.
New York marathon bronze medalist Geoffrey Kamworor will return to make a third attempt to win the elusive gold for Kenya in the discipline.
However, Kamworor must seal his spot in the Kenya team against a spirited challenge from Olympic silver medalist Paul Tanui, who won bronze in 10,000m at the last three world events. (XINHUA)