Diamond League Series 3,000m steeplechase leader Jairus Birech has withdrawn from the London Grand Prix due Friday and Saturday at the London Olympic Stadium due to illness. Birech said he is down with a bout of malaria but hopes to recover on time for the World Championships trials to be held from July 31 to August 1 at the Nyayo National Stadium. He said;
“I need your prayers since I am down with malaria and that is why I am not competing in London. I wish all Kenyan steeplechasers the best in the race.”
Birech is well on course to retain his Diamond League Series title after winning in Shanghai, Oslo and Paris. He won in the French capital city on July 4 in a world lead and meet record time of 7 minutes 58.83 seconds.
The Commonwealth Games silver medallist has been tipped to make the Kenyan team for the World Championships due August 22 to 30 in Beijing, China but in his absence, the focus will be on World silver medallist Conseslus Kipruto, who claimed third place in Paris and Eugene respectively and second in Oslo.
Other Kenyans in the race that will go down on Saturday are the three-time Diamond League Series winner Paul Kipsiele Koech, the 2012 London Olympics bronze medallist Abel Mutai, Hillary Yego, Bernard Ng’ang’a and Clement Kemboi.
Olympic and world champion Ezekiel Kemboi will not compete in London, having opted to concentrate his energies for the trials after winning in Eugene only to finish outside the top five places in Oslo and Paris.
Olympic 800m champion David Rudisha will be hoping to draw inspiration from his Olympics exploits as he returns to the arena where he set world record of 1: 40.91 during the 2012 Olympics.