Kipsiro maintains he is ‘fit to run’ despite omission by UAF

Star runner Moses Kipsiro has branded claims that he was eliminated from the World Half Marathon Championships on grounds of ill-health as hogwash. “I am fit to compete,” the Commonwealth Games double gold medallist told Saturday Monitor on Thursday night. Kipsiro was dropped from the national team set to compete in today’s 21km race in Copenhagen, Denmark at the last minute with the Uganda Athletics Federation (UAF) saying he was still nursing malaria, typhoid and brucella.

In his absence, Geoffrey Kusuro, Daniel Rotich, Moses Kibet, Isaac Ayeko and Linet Chebet will represent Uganda. “It is true I was feeling unwell during the Africa Cross-country but I am now fine. No injury, no sickness.

“I was expecting to run well in Denmark. If they insisted that I compete at Kololo why couldn’t they let me travel to Denmark?” an angry Kipsiro queried. Kipsiro finished 10th in the men’s 12k senior race at Kololo but UAF was clearly angered by his revelation that one of the three male team coaches had sexually harassed junior female runners during residential training ahead of the March 16 event. The 28-year-old long distance gem also expressed his displeasure at UAF’s reluctance to punish the accused coach or investigate the scandal at the very least.

After the cross-country event, Kipsiro was ordered to rejoin camp and train with the rest of the half marathon team in Bukwo ahead of the Denmark trip. But on Tuesday, as he prepared to leave Bukwo for Kapchorwa and later connect to Kampala, he said he received a call from the federation telling him to cancel the trip.

“I was meant to travel with Kusuro (teammate). I had finalized everything and was looking forward to the competition,” he said adding that the reasons given to him for the trip cancellation were funny.

It is now clear Kipsiro, one of Uganda’s most successful athletes, is being punished for his openness about the scandal that has enraged athletics lovers in Sebei Region. “I know they are now sure no other athlete will talk in my absence,” he said. “But sidelining me is not a solution. This is a scandal that affects every Ugandan not Kipsiro alone.

“I am a parent and I know how I would feel if it were my daughter being abused by an old man.” During the training camp, the accused coach reportedly told the girls to engage in sexual activity and give birth in order to run better.

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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