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Tergat withdraws from World Cross Country Championships

Tergat withdraws from World Cross Country Championships

26 February 2001 – Nairobi - Five-times champion Paul Tergat from Kenya has withdrawn from next month's World cross country championship after a disappointing showing in the Kenyan IAAF permit cross country meeting in Nairobi.

The 31-year-old Tergat said late on Sunday he was withdrawing from the championships in Dublin next month after finishing only third in Saturday's race, which also doubled as Kenya's trial for the event.

Tergat, who is also world half-marathon champion, said he would concentrate on preparations for his full marathon debut in London on April 22.

"It is not practical for me to run in Dublin and go ahead with my marathon debut in London," he said.

"I want to make a successful debut in the marathon. I hope Kenya's athletics officials and my fans will understand."

"This is a new field for me and I can't afford to take chances.

"The training methods for the two events are very different and it would be pretentious to think I can handle both competently."

The Kenya Amateur Athletic Association (KAAA) said it accepted Tergat's decision.

"We are aware of it and regretfully accept his decision. We will convene a technical committee meeting this week to select a suitable replacement," David Okeyo, KAAA secretary general said.

"We recognise the task ahead of him in his marathon debut and we have no reason not to accept his decision."

However, Tergat said he had not made a final decision on whether he would quit cross country running for good.

"I may give the cross country a thought next year, but much will depend on the form then," he said.