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Kenyan, Bahrain athletes miss flight

08 August 2013, 12:29 John Kwoba

Nairobi - One Kenyan and two Bahraini athletes heading for the world athletic championships in Moscow, Russia were caught in the fire disaster that left Jomo Kenyatta International Airport shut down on Wednesday.

Valentine Kipketer Jepkorir, a marathon runner, now faces a race against time to be in Moscow on Saturday for the marathon race final, which starts at 13:00 hours Kenya time.

But Kipketer, who is known for her behind the pack assassin running skills, had her Emirates flight postponed as she missed to jet out with the rest on Tuesday night.

She was due to fly out on Wednesday night aboard Emirates flight through Dubai, but the fire at the airport made sure her nightmare continued.

"I had planned to travel with the rest of the team on Tuesday, but I overslept. When I woke up there was nobody at the hotel," she said.

"I had known that all athletes had left for training, but I was shocked to find out that they had left without me. I tried calling the coach (Sammy Rono) but it was no use. He was not within reach, " she added.

Athletics Kenya Vice President Paul Mutwii confirmed that Kipketer was due to fly out on Wednesday night.

"It was sad that she did not travel with the team. But again when we have rescheduled her flight, disaster strikes. I hope normalcy will be seen and she will join the team in Moscow latest Friday," he said.

Kipketer was to run alongside compatriots and defending champion Edna Kiplagat, former Dubai marathon silver medallist Lucy Kabuu and Margaret Agai.

At the same time two Bahrain athletes, who were camping in Iten, were left with no choice but to postpone their trip as they fire caught the airport in Nairobi.

The duo was forced to look for alternative means of transport after flights from the Eldoret International Airport to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi were cancelled.

3000M Steeplechaser Tareq Mubarak and 10, 000M Hassan Mahbub were expected to be in the Russian capital on Thursday to join their camp in preparation for the world championships.

"My race was scheduled for the 12th and I feel I have been inconvenienced since I required to be settled and get enough rest to participate well in the championships," stated Tareq.

The athletes expressed their displeasure at the cancellation of services explaining that his colleague Mahbub was to have his race on Saturday and the delay may affect his performance.

He however expressed optimism that normalcy would resume in major airports to ensure that air traffic does not inconvenience passengers and cargo. 


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