Ngugi may miss tilt at world title

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The Independent Online

Next month's World Cross-Country Championships in Cape Town could be deprived of some premier competitors because of funding cuts by the Kenyan government.

The Kenya National Sports Council announced yesterday they would not fund any national teams before the Olympics, provoking a threat of withdrawal from the championships on 23 March.

The chairman of the Kenya Amateur Association, Isaiah Kiplagat, said the team might withdraw if it was covered by the KNSC directive. "We may also cancel the national trials that lead to the championships. There is no point in going through the trials process if we are not going to send a team to the championships anyway."

One Nigerian, John Ngugi, the former world champion, had planned to make his top-level return in South Africa now that a ban imposed by the International Amateur Athletic Federation for refusing a random dope test has been cut short. Another, Paul Tergat, the world champion, has said he wants his second world title there.

The ruling will not affect Kenya's cricket World Cup campaign, which has separate sources of financial support.

Funding is the major problem for Kenyan sport. Kenya pulled out of staging football's African Nations' Cup this year, because of a lack of money for renovations to a stadium.