By Gilbert Wandera and IAAF
Olympic bronze medallist Abel Mutai has said his good performance in London last month will be a motivating factor to win gold medal at the 2016 Olympics Games in Rio de Janeiro.
The Africa steeplechase champion said his hard work throughout the year paid off and this has encouraged him to double his efforts ahead of the next Olympic Games.
“The 3,000m steeplechase has been dominated by Kenyans for a long time, it was still difficult to finish third in London considering the strong field in the final.
“I am delighted to have finished in the medal bracket ahead of other established athletes,” he said.
However, Mutai does not believe that Olympic Champion Ezekiel Kemboi has turned over the cliff in the water and hurdle race.
“I don’t believe we have seen the last of Kemboi on the track and he may still be there for some time. But I am not focusing on it but rather working to make myself better,” he said.
Mutai, the African Champion after winning in Benin this year, is a former World Youth champion back in 2005.
Elsewhere, a superlative set of some of the world’s best marathoners will battle for the 2011-2012 World Marathon Majors (WMM) titles at this year’s New York City Marathon on November 4.
Two Kenyan champions Edna Kiplagat and Sharon Cherop together with Olympic champion Tiki Gelana of Ethiopia and bronze medallist Tatyana Arkhipova of Russia will lead the women’s field. Olympic marathon bronze medallist Wilson Kipsang and 2011 Bank of America Chicago Marathon winner Moses Mosop lead the men’s contingent.
Kiplagat, 32, is the 2011 World champion and is ranked number three among the world’s marathoners. She finished second in the 2012 Virgin London Marathon with a personal best time of 2:19:50, earning a spot on the Kenyan Olympic marathon team.
Kiplagat won the 2010 New York City Marathon in a time of 2:28:20. She also won this year’s New York Mini 10K and is ranked second on the 2011-2012 World Marathon Majors leaderboard with 50 points.
“I’ve always loved running on the streets of New York, so I was really disappointed last year to miss the New York City Marathon because of the knee injury from my terrible fall at the World Championships,” Kiplagat told IAAF.
“I am, of course, very, very happy to be invited back this year, and will be doing my best to try to win the race again.”
Cherop, 28, is the Boston Marathon champion and 2011 World Championships Marathon bronze medallist. She claimed a position as one of the top marathoners in the world with a personal best of 2:22:42 to win the 2010 Toronto Waterfront Marathon – the fastest women’s time ever run in Canada.
Her personal best of 2:22:39 was set in January at the Dubai Marathon. She is ranked third on the 2011-2012 WMM leaderboard with 45 points; this will be her New York City Marathon debut.
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Abel Mutai Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympics Games