World 1500m champion Timothy Cheruiyot and Olympic 3000m steeplechase champion Conseslus Kipruto were not named on Kenya’s Olympic roster after not finishing in the top three of their races at their Olympic Trials.
Cheruiyot had not finished worse than second in a 1500m in four years, and lost just three times since the start of 2018, according to Tilastopaja.org. But on Saturday in Nairobi, he was passed for third place in the final straightaway, then reportedly limped off to a medical tent.
Kipruto, the lone runner to win the same individual event at the 2016 Olympics, 2017 Worlds and 2019 Worlds, dropped out in the early laps of the steeple on Saturday, according to broadcast commentary. Kipruto has started three races since the start of 2020 and didn’t finish any of them.
In November 2019, Kipruto pled not guilty after being charged with having sexual intercourse with a 15-year-old girl and was released on bail. Kipruto faced at least 20 years in prison if convicted, according to Kenya’s sexual offenses laws. It’s unclear where the case stands.
Athletics Kenya reportedly has discretion to pick somebody who finishes outside the top three for the third and final spot in an event. But the federation announced its Olympic team at the conclusion of Trials, printing and tweeting the roster without Cheruiyot or Kipruto.
The 2015 and 2017 World men’s 1500m champions are out of the Olympics due to doping bans. The 2012 and 2016 Olympic champions are Algerian Taoufik Makhloufi, who last raced in October 2019, and Matthew Centrowitz, favored to make the team at the U.S. Olympic Trials next weekend.
Jakob Ingebrigtsen, a 20-year-old Norwegian who was fourth at 2019 Worlds, is the the second-fastest man in this Olympic cycle after Cheruiyot.
In the men’s steeple, Rio silver medalist Evan Jager is out after missing the U.S. Olympic Trials due to leg muscle tears. Lamecha Girma, the 2019 World silver medalist, did not race the Ethiopian Olympic Trials.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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World 1500M World Champion, Timothy Cheruiyot limping off to the medical tent. He finished 4th at the trials. The first two athletes across male the team while the 3rd athlete will be picked by a panel of selectors..#Tokyo2020 pic.twitter.com/qbjq7C0cuU
— Lynne Wachira (@WachiraLynne) June 19, 2021