What you need to know:
- Announcing the changes, Athletics Kenya director of competitions Paul Mutwii said that Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Michael Githae will remain as a reserve.
- Mutwii, who announced the changes in Eldoret Wednesday, said Bethwel Kibet, who finished fifth at Seville Marathon in February, will join Githae on the reserve list.
London Marathon champion Kelvin Kiptum and women’s marathon world record holder Brigid Kosgei have withdrawn from the marathon team for the World Athletics Championship scheduled for August 19-27 in Budapest, Hungary.
Three-time world half marathon champion Geoffrey Kamworor has also opted out of the team.
Titus Kipruto, who was placed fourth in this year's Tokyo Marathon in March, is the only one who has retained his place in the main team.
Kipruto is now joined by the Rotterdam Marathon silver medallist Timothy Kiplagat and Hamburg Marathon silver medallist Joshua Belet. Kiplagat was previously a reserve, while Belet makes the team for the first time.
Announcing the changes, Athletics Kenya director of competitions Paul Mutwii said that Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Michael Githae will remain as a reserve.
Mutwii, who announced the changes in Eldoret Wednesday, said Bethwel Kibet, who finished fifth at Seville Marathon in February, will join Githae on the reserve list.
Kiptum, who ran the second fastest time at this year's London Marathon (two hours two hours, one minute and 25 seconds) on April 23, and Kamworor, the two-time world cross country champion, had been named in the team on June 2.
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics marathon silver medallist, Sheila Chepkirui, who finished fourth place at the London Marathon, has also been replaced in the women's team.
Barcelona Marathon silver medallist Sally Chepyego Kaptich, who was a reserve, and Enschede Marathon champion Shyline Jepkorir, took up Kosigei and Chepkirui's positions in the main team.
They join Rosemary Wanjiru, the winner of Tokyo Marathon in March, who had been named earlier in the women's team.
Commonwealth Games silver medallist Margaret Wangari remains on the reserves list where she will be joined by Rome Marathon champion Betty Chepkwony.
Most of the athletes that had been named earlier have made an about turn in favour of the more lucrative and prestigious races coming later in the year like Berlin (September 24), New York City (November 5) and Chicago (October 8).
“It’s their choice and there is little you can do about that. It’s their right to make whatever change they want even without giving us reasons,” said Mutwii, who is confident that those selected now will represent Kenya well and bring glory.
Mutwii said that unlike in the past, athletes will be training on their own with their coaches until their time of travel for the world championships.
“Marathon is a complex event which requires its own training and has different training times. We have let the athletes train on their own but our technical team will be following closely on their programs,” said Mutwii.
Geoffrey Kirui last won the men’s title for Kenya in 2017 London, while Lelisa Desisa and Tamirat Tola handed Ethiopia victories in 2019 Doha and 2022 Eugene respectively.
Kenya relinquished the women's title Ruth Chepng’etich won in 2019 Doha to Ethiopia’s Gotytom Gebreslase last year in Eugene, United States of America.
Undoubtedly, Budapest will once again see Kenya and Ethiopia’s athletes renew their rivalry. Tola and Gebreslase will be defending their titles.
Men: Titus Kipruto( 2:04:54), Timothy Kiplagat (2:03:50), Joshua Belet (2:04:33). Reserves: - Michael Githae (2:07:28), Bethwel Kibet (2:05:42).
Women: Rosemary Wanjiru (2:16:28), Sally Chepyego Kaptich(2:20:03), Shyline Jepkorir (2:22:45). Reserves: Margaret Wangari (2:23:52), Betty Chepkwony (2:23:02).