Nairobi: The Kenyan women`s marathon team for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow suffered a blow when Birmingham World Half silver medallist Philes Ongori was forced out of the squad with an injury.
Ongori, who ran a marathon career best of 2:23:22 for a ninth finish in Boston in April, finished second in Prague last year and was seeking first honours for her nation over the ultimate distance on what was to be her debut Games.
Paris marathon winner Filomena Cheyech who ran her lifetime best of 2:22:44 in the French capital April 6 and 2011 Boston champion, Caroline Kilel, who won Frankfurt last year in a 2:22.34 personal best, will now chase the medals for Kenya as the podium sweep dream ended with Ongori`s heartbreak withdrawal just hours before her departure Monday.
The news was confirmed to local website Capital Sport by Athletics Kenya president and Track and Field team manager Paul Mutwii ahead of their scheduled departure for Scotland Monday night.
"Ongori is not coming with us because she reported to me two days ago that her recurring injury has failed to heal and therefore requested to excuse herself from the team," Mutwii said in Nairobi.
Kilel, who was compelled to cancel her initial flight to Scotland after her name was wrongly printed on her ticket, is confident they will deliver the top medal despite the Ongori injury blow.
"I have trained well and being my first time to compete, I want to bring gold home. I ran in the Glasgow course back in 2009 where I finished fourth. Because I`m familiar with the route, I believe I will win a medal. We are strong despite Ongori pulling out in the last minute. Cheyech and I have personal bests of 2:22," she said.
"Since there are no Ethiopians in Commonwealth, competition will be amongst us," the 33-year-old stated.