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Kenya upbeat ahead of World Cross despite injuries in team

Margaret Jelimo Lausanne, March 10 (IANS) Kenya has made changes as Margaret Jelimo and Viola Kibiwott hav been recalled to a camp to fill up the ...

Margaret Jelimo

Lausanne, March 10 (IANS)

Kenya has made changes as Margaret Jelimo and Viola Kibiwott hav been recalled to a camp to fill up the void in the build up to the World Cross Country in Guiyang, China. Athletics Kenya (AK) President Isaiah Kiplagat said on Monday that the two will take up the vacant position left by World Cross Country Junior Champion Faith Chepng'etich and Alice Aprot, reports Xinhua. The event will start from March 28.

"Aprot has pulled out of the team and we have Faith (Chepng' etich) injured. She will not be able to recover in time for the World Cross," Kiplagat said.

Coach David Letting, however still maintain the absence of two of his best athletes will not dampen the spirit in camp or the fight for the medals.

"I believe what we have in camp is a strong team. Kenya has many athletes it can pick from and we all need to give them a chance and they will deliver the medals," he said.

Jelimo and Kibiwott will join hands with defending champion Emily Chebet, another wild card beneficiary, Africa cross country winner Agnes Tirop, Janet Kisa, Irene Chebet and Stacy Ndiwa.

The women's team remains a puzzle as the country seeks to retain its dominance in the event, which it ruled the roost at the 2013 edition in Bydgoszcz, Poland.

Kenya beat rivals Ethiopia to secure nine medals (5 gold, 3 silver and 1 bronze). However, in Guiyang, Ethiopia, Uganda, Eritrea, the United States and host China will be the teams to watch.

However, Emily Chebet is rearing to go and want to prove critics wrong her selection through the wild card was merited. Chebet was a distant 16th during the Kenyan trials, which she attributed to the scorching heat and hard surface.

"I was in Europe doing the IAAF circuit and only returned home a day to the championships. But I have picked up the pace and am now at par with the others in camp," said Chebet.

In Europe, Chebet showed impressive form, winning the Cross International de Italica in Seville and finishing second in the Cross Juan Muguerza meeting in Elgoibar, Spain.

Chebet will be using the world cross country event as build up to the World Athletic championships in Beijing in August after winning a 10,000m bronze medal at last year's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

The Kenyan team will depart to China on March 24.

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