|Bedan Karoki (right) and Paul Tanui during the World Championships trials that took place on July 13. [PHOTO: STAFFORD ONDEGO / STANDARD|
BY JOSEPH NGURE
Nairobi,Kenya:The training camp for national marathon team to the World Champion was commissioned in Iten by Athletics Kenya (AK) President Isaiah Kiplagat on Monday with team members exhibiting confidence ahead of the biannual global event.
The eight-member team, training at the high altitude township of Elgeiyo Marakwet County under Abraham Kiplimo and Richard Meto, is a mixture of experienced and young talent readying for the 14th edition of IAAF World Championships set for August 10 to 18.
Addressing the team at The Keelu Resort, Kiplagat said the composition of the team should not be underrated as it has athletes who have excelled in top marathons in the world.
“There should be no murmuring that the team selected for Moscow is inferior just because two or three defending champions are out of the team. Even the big stars started performing while young. We are expecting improved results from this team,” said the President when he commissioned the training camp.
The AK boss said during Daegu World championship in 2011, Kenya managed five medals in marathon with the women’s team, led by defending champion Ednah Kiplagat, sweeping the podium with three medals after finishing 1-2-3.
“That was a remarkable performance in Daegu. It was historical. But we have taken the competition a step ahead by also doing the same in the men’s marathon,” added the President, who was joined by Elgeiyo Marakwet Governor Alex Tolgos and AK officials from Central and North Rift regions.
The team, composed of women’s defending champion Kiplagat, Lucy Kabuu, Margaret Akai and Valentine Jepkorir (women) and Peter Kimeli Some (captain), Bernard Kipyego, Nicholas Kemboi, Bernard Koech and Mike Kipyego, described their training as great and enjoyable.
“Coming together and training as a team has boosted our morale. All is well and we shall run as a team the way we are training. We shall ensure the title remains in Kenya without the defending champion,” said marathon team captain, Peter Some.
The men’s team requested to remain behind for a few days as the main contingent departs on August 5 as they did in 2011 because the squad would be competing on the last day and do not want to skip training.
In Daegu in 2011, Abel Kirui, who has since pulled out of the championship because of injury, won the title for the second time in a row with Vincent Kipruto finishing second. Ednah finished ahead of Priscah Jeptoo and Sharon Cherop in a historic 1-2-3 finish for Kenya. The team also won the marathon World cup.