NAIROBI, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) -- Kenya will have to do without 1,500m world and Olympic champion Faith Kipyegon at the World Indoor Championships next month.
The 23-year-old has ruled herself out of the remainder of the season as she is on maternity leave. This leaves Olympic Games bronze medalist Margaret Wambui and Hellen Obiri, the world 5,000m champion, as Kenya's sole title contenders at this year's World Indoor Championships, which will be held in Birmingham City, England on March 1-4.
"Faith will not take part in the trials for the Commonwealth Games or the World Indoor Championships. She is not in active training as she is expecting her first child," Paul Mutwii, the Athletics Kenya Vice President said on Thursday.
However, he believes Kenya will still field a strong team in both competitions and will be able to dominate.
He picked out the 1,500m race for men, saying Kenya is spoilt for choice with world champion Elijah Manang'oi, silver medalist Timothy Cheruiyot, James Magut as well as Bethwel Birgen all keen to compete.
Kenya hopes for a better showing in Birmingham despite stiff competition from USA, Ethiopia, France and Jamaica.
Kenya collected only two bronze medals in Eugene, Oregon in 2016. Margaret Wambui came in third in the 800m and Augustine Choge came third in the 3,000m.
This year's World Indoor Championships in Birmingham will attract a total of 767 athletes - 429 men and 338 women - from 154 federations, making the 17th edition of the IAAF's second largest competition one of the biggest ever.
IAAF will pay all the winners in each race category a 20,000 USD (125 978 CNY) bonus.
Although there will be a slight reduction in the numbers between the preliminary entries and final participants, the championships are on track to become the largest in more than two decades.
Only once before, when athletes from 171 countries participated at the 2012 championships in Istanbul, have more member federations fielded teams.
Top athletes expected to be at the championships include world high jump champion and 2017 world athlete of the year Mutaz Essa Barshim, world 5,000m champion Hellen Obiri and Christian Coleman, the world 100m silver medalist.