Nairobi, Kenya-The announcement naming 2011 London Marathon champion Emmanuel Mutai to replace 2011 Chicago Marathon champion Moses Mosop (tendon injury) on the 2012 Kenyan Olympic Marathon team by Athletics Kenya president Isaiah Kiplagat at a press conference on Tuesday has opened a controversy. During the press conference, Mr. Kiplagat asserted that the reason neither 2011 Boston and New York City Marathon champion Geoffrey Mutai or 2011 Berlin Marathon champion Patrick Makau were considered as replacements was because neither of their agents had submitted training and fitness reports following their drop outs at the Boston and London Marathons.
I arrived in Nairobi on Wednesday night, and spoke directly with Makau’s agent Zane Branson.
“When the announcement was made on Monday that a replacement would be named on Tuesday, Makau was expecting good news,” said Branson. “But what Mr. Kiplagat said on Tuesday is simply not true. After London (where Makau dropped out), I came straight to the hotel from the finish. At 4:30 p.m. I was in Makau’s room. We received a call, and it was AK treasurer, Mr. Kinyua, Mr. Kiplagat’s brother-in-law. He came up. I explained to him the situation why Patrick dropped out. Then I left them together. He knew. I also spoke with Ibrahim Hussein, AK assistant secretary, there and Mr. Okeyo, too (AK general secretary).”
“I am defending my client, not because he wasn’t named to the team but because Kiplagat made knowingly false statements yesterday (Tuesday) in his press conference. Patrick remains firm around three around pivot points:
- challenging human limits on the marathon course,
- his dream of flying Kenyan flag on the biggest stage,
- and his commitment to always remain available for Kenyan Olympic selection.
For the record:
“We will always respect a National Federations right to select their teams as they see fit. That is not our issue. What does greatly concern us is the false statement given by the President of Athletics Kenya in his 12 June press conference as the reason for overlooking our client Patrick Makau. One of our jobs as Makau’s Athletics Kenya and IAAF registered Athlete Representative is to defend his integrity (and ours, as his representative) when it is called into question. And the statements made in the 12 June press conference about Makau are completely untrue.
“We were never formally asked for an explanation as to why Patrick Makau failed to finish the 2012 Virgin London Marathon. But we did voluntarily provide such an explanation, in person to Athletics Kenya Treasurer Mr. Kinyua, immediately post-race in London, and in e-mails to the Federations e-mail address on April 25 and May 8. We clearly stated that Makau’s problem was a minor sciatic nerve irritation and that within two weeks of the London Marathon he had resumed normal and full training.
I am in no way questioning the naming of Emmanuel Mutai / Stanley Biwott as the replacement for Moses Mosop. But I do want to make clear that Patrick Makau and ourselves DID make it known to Mr. Kinyua, Mr. Kiplagat and four other AK officials (after the London Marathon) that his problem was minor and he would be ready to represent his country with distinction if selected.
As proof, Branson forwarded the following email:
Dear Mr. Kinyua, Mr. Okeyo, and Mr Hussein,
It was good seeing you in London this past weekend and Patrick Makau and I truly valued your concern for him after the marathon.
First and foremost, Makau’s problem in London this past weekend was obviously contrary to what we expected but we have been assured that the injury is not serious. He does have full flexibility in his left leg and we have been assured the issue is not a hamstring muscle strain, but apparently a mild case of sciatic irritation. Makau will be back in full training within the next few days and he continues to receive daily treatments to be sure that the injury has been dealt with and every preventative effort will be made to be sure he stays healthy through 12 August.
Patrick’s preparations for the London Marathon had gone really well and his key sessions went as planned and without any problems since February. Makau was confident with form when comparing to Berlin last September but sadly is was on one of his last few runs before leaving for London that the slight injury presented itself.
Though the timing of his problem was unfortunate, the silver-lining is that Makau can resume training without losing the few weeks needed for a recovery that is essential after a tough marathon. Considering that the Men’s Marathon is only 16 weeks away this will prove to be an advantage and will allow Makau time to be in the best shape of his life.
I have known Makau and assisted him since 2004 when he first came to Ngong to train with Jimmy Muindi and Patrick Ivuti. I remember traveling to Arusha with Makau in November 2005 and I was struck by one conversation I had with him on this particular trip when he stated way back then that about what means the most to him is an Olympic Marathon Gold Medal!
Despite being the current Marathon World Record holder and winning world championship medals for his country, this remains his dream!
I can assure you, and all of those that may be involved with the selection process of the men’s marathon team for London 2012, that Makau will be physically and emotionally ready to represent Kenya and lead with his compatriots on the Olympic Marathon Course that favors a tactical approach to insure they return home with three medals for their countrymen.
When deliberating the value of including Patrick Makau in the Kenyan team, his possible inclusion will prove a popular choice and I am sure you can count on him making Athletics Kenya proud.
I thank you in advance for your kind consideration to this very important issue.
Respectfully and with thanks,
Possosports, Europe (Prague)
In addition there has been (undocumented) verbal communications to inform AK officials of Makau’s desire to represent his country in the Olympic Marathon on August 12.
Subject: CORRECTED: Patrick Makau – Great Manchester Run (10km) on 20 May / Requesting permission to compete.
Date: Tue, 8 May 2012 16:09:58 -0400
Dear Mr. Okeyo,
I am request your permission for Patrick Makau to be allowed to compete in the Great Manchester 10km scheduled to take place on 20 May 2012 in Manchester, UK. Patrick has a valid visa for the UK.
The Race organization is paying the cost of travel and Patrick will have the required medical/travel insurance for the duration of his short stay in Britain.
The Great Manchester 10km is more of an ‘exhibition’ race with Haile Gebrselassie, but it will be important for Patrick to demonstrate his fitness.
For clarity, as I mentioned in my email of 23 April to you and the Chairman, Makau’s problem in London was not a hamstring (muscular) injury, but a mild case of sciatic irritation. Makau has now returned to training and he continues to receive daily treatments to be sure that the injury has been dealt with and every preventative effort is being made to be sure he stays healthy.
I will write a formal letter next week on behalf of Patrick Makau asking for him to be nominated as the alternate for the Kenyan marathon team. Makau will continue with his marathon training and he will be fully prepared for 12 August should be named as the alternate and called up to represent his country in the Olympic Marathon.
I thank you in advance for your kind consideration.
Respectfully, and with thanks,
Possosports, Europe (Prague)
More as the story develops. Today, is the first day of the Kenyan National Championships at Kasarani Stadium, including the final of the men’s 10,000.