|Valentine Jepkorir during an interview with FeverPitch on Wednesday. [PHOTO: BEVERLYNE MUSILI / STANDARD]|
BY JONATHAN KOMEN
Valentine Jepkorir, who was left behind when the Kenyan team left for Moscow on Tuesday, finally departed yesterday.
Kenyans were on the edge after the inferno at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport forced the closore of the region’s busiest airport. Some athletes were forced to travel to neighbouring Uganda to travel to Moscow where the global competition is starting Saturday.
Jepkorir has a mountain to climb as she lines up for the women’s marathon contest at 1pm (Kenyan time) against the backdrop of a 12-hour flight from Nairobi.
Jepkorir departed yesterday at noon aboard a Kenya Airways flight to Schipol Airport in Amsterdam, where she is expected to connect to Moscow’s RU Sheremetyevo airport.
Jepkorir was left at the Laico Regency when the team left on a rescheduled flight.
The runner from Kapkitony Athletics Club in Keiyo South told FeverPitch by telephone yesterday: “I am grateful that I could finally secure a flight. I am not worried about arriving in Moscow a day before the competition. Let me reach there and give it my best shot,” said Jepkorir.
Jepkorir will join defending champion Edna Kiplagat, former Commonwealth Games champion Lucy Kabuu and Mumbai marathon winner Margaret Akai in Moscow.
Jepkorir and Akai will test their young legs in the women’s marathon showdown scheduled for August 10 at 3.30pm.
Jepkorir is banking on the 2:24.20 she ran in the Mumbai Marathon while Akai is laying claim to the 2:23.28 she registered at the Daegu Marathon.
“I was sleeping in my room when I woke up to find the team had left. I knocked on the next door but there was no response. When I went down to the lobby, I was informed that the team had left.
Twice Olympics and world champion, Ezekiel Kemboi, will leave today (see other story on this page).
Finally, the time has come. After much jostling, the planets in the athletics universe will align tomorrow afternoon and the stars are set to collide in the most spectacular fashion imaginable.
At the Luzhniki Sports Complex in Moscow, Russia, two pedigree practitioners who host the finest athletes in the world – Kenya and Ethiopia – will enter an exceptionally brilliant battle with each other under the enchanted gaze of thousands present in the Russian capital.