Decorated long-distance Olympics 2020 double medalist Joshua Cheptegei has been ruled out of Sunday’s 10K Valencia Ibercaja event with an illness not related to COVID-19.
Cheptegei’s Police Club coach Benjamin Njia has confirmed to reporters.
“There is some bad news, he (Cheptegei) could not race because he felt unwell and asked to step out of the marathon,” Njia told New Vision.
“We have set aside one week to assess this illness and then see if he can get back to training,” the celebrated Ugandan athletics coach contemplated.
The development paves way for backup Rogers Kibet to make his first career marathon event as the mainstay for team Uganda in an international marathon.
Cheptegei, 25, who had been training expressively ahead of the event has now missed two European events consecutively including the November 7 Hills in the Netherlands which was unceremoniously cancelled at the last minute by the organizers under unclear circumstances.
The four-time record holder has not participated in any competitive race since winning the Diamond League in Oregon (USA) in August 2021 shortly after a stellar performance in Tokyo Olympics which fetched him a gold medal in 5,000m and a silver in 10,000.
Speaking ahead of the Spain trip Cheptegei said he felt good to finally have an opportunity to test his speed, strength and endurance levels.
He also wanted to use the event for a build-up for the incoming World Athletics Championships in Eugene city of Oregon State in the United States of America.
The world Championships are slated for 15-24 July this year.
Unfortunately, for Uganda’s greatest athlete of all time, he will have to wait a little bit longer for another chance yet again.
In his place will be Kibet, a 22-year-old prodigious starlet who is signed under the Dutch based Management agency of Global Sports Communication.
Kibet has performed in several national and privately organized events in which he has caught the eye of his coaches.
Kibet is in company of Abel Sikowo a renowned pacesetter who is transitioning into the main act, Prisons Club’s Esther Chebet, upcoming star Prisca Chesang and their camp manager Addy Ruiter.
The Dutch coach had traveled earlier last week to prepare for the event.