Olympics delay boost for Manangoi who is returning from hamstring injury
The long layoff due to coronavirus pandemic will help Commonwealth Games 1,500m champion Elijah Manangoi of Kenya shake off the rust after returning to action from a hamstring injury.
Manangoi, who forfeited his world title to training mate Timothy Cheruiyot in Doha, Qatar last year, is sad and frustrated that the world has to shut down to contain the virus.
However, on the flipside, he is happy that it will not mount pressure on him as he battles his way back to fitness and be ready for the Olympic Games.
Four years ago, Manangoi was irritated when a tactical error cost him the final of the 1,500m race at the Rio Olympics. He was keen to make amends in Tokyo in 2020 and was rushing through the rehabilitation table to be fit.
He had penciled the April 17 Doha Diamond League as his debut race in almost one year. But that too has been cancelled.
Now he has only one hope, that the athletics competitions will be back sometime later in 2020 and though he may just run one to three races, he believes it will be enough to offer him a glimpse of what he needs to do to be at his best and ready for the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021.
“I had high hopes to return to action in 2020 season fully recovered but the postponement of sports competition gives me a chance to prepare better,” Manangoi told reporters in Nairobi on Tuesday.
“There are high chances sports will return to action when the situation allows later in the year. But with the congestion and health fears, one can only take part in two or three events.
For that we will be grateful because now we can’t do anything yet we need to train and eat.”
But with a lot of free time in his home with family, owing to the government lockdown directive, Manangoi says it will help him polish his skills and relax more his muscles.
“It offers me an extra year to prepare, work on areas I felt needed more attention, though I have to do this on my own without the coach or my teammates.
But in the end it will help me build up well towards the Olympics. Then we will be able to talk about the 2022 World Championships and Commonwealth Games,” he said.
International Olympic Committee (IOC) deferred the Tokyo Games from July 24 to August 9 this year to July 23 to August 8 next year to allow governments to battle the coronavirus pandemic, which in Kenya has over 200 cases confirmed and nine deaths so far. -Xinhua