NAIROBI, Kenya (AFP) — Fed up with the wet British summer, Kenya's former Olympic and two-time world 3000 metres steeplechase champion Ezekiel Kemboi has opted to return home after a week of pre-Olympic training in Bristol.
Kemboi, who is embroiled in a court case over the stabbing of a woman in the western Kenyan town of Eldoret, had joined the first batch of the Kenyan Olympic team which has pitched camp in Bristol, in the south west of England.
"Bristol is so nice for sprinters but not good for middle and long distance runners. It is also raining a lot there which is not good for me to train," Kemboi said.
His decision to return to warmer Nairobi adds credence to the stance taken by most of the elite athletes who declined to train in Bristol, citing its low altitude as opposed to the advantageous high altitude in Kenya, which they say would favour their Olympics preparation.
Team officials believed his being away would help Kemboi concentrate on his Games training and avoid becoming weighed down by all the media attention surrounding his court case which is due to be heard in September.
Head coach Julius Kirwa said he was happy all the 29 athletes, including Kemboi had accepted to train together at the residential camp at Kasarani in Nairobi before their departure for London.
"The team is very focused on the Olympics. There is a lot of understanding among the athletes about the teamwork training at the camp which is good for our Olympic preparations," said Kirwa.
The team is expected to travel to London on July 30, four days before the Olympic athletics programme gets underway.