NAIROBI, Kenya - A world-renowned marathoner won't be representing his country at the London Olympics. Despite holding the world record for the event, Patrick Makau wasn't selected for Kenya’s Olympic team.
The 27-year-old nabbed the world record after finishing with a time of 2:03:38 at the Berlin Marathon last September.
“Yeah, it was something in my dreams for a long time," Makau says. "Since I started running, I was think[ing] about people like Haile Selassie, yeah, so I was thinking how I can be good like them and compete well. So, Berlin was my day."
Although Berlin was his day, London apparently will not be. Makau was surprised to learn his name is not on the roster for Kenya’s Olympic team.
“When I made the world record, I was promised to be given the first priority by the federation," he says. "But, at last, they came to change. But it is all about Kenya. This is because Kenya, it is not straightforward all the time.”
Kenya's Olympic officials deny Makau was promised a spot on the team.
“After the spring marathons, we were going to pick the best three. And after the spring marathons, we did so," says Isaiah Kiplagat, chairman of Athletics Kenya. "After watching them compete in London, Boston, Frankfurt, and so on. From that basis, therefore, we were able to follow up the performance of each athlete. And on that basis, therefore, we were able to pick the best three. And Makau was not one of them.”
Kiplagat says Makau was beat out by stiff competition.
“I don’t think that world record holding is a basis for one to be selected to the Olympics," he says. "Because, as you are aware, if you look at the history of the Olympics, no world record holder, if any, has ever won a major championship, like the Olympics. So it’s not the basis for selection.”
Although the world record holder has been omitted from the Olympic team, Kenyan officials remain confident of success this summer in London.
As for Makau, while he won't be making plans to go to London, he will continue training.