The President of National Olympic Committee-Kenya (NOC-K), Paul Tergat is full of optimism ahead of the Paris Olympics on July and August 2024.
The former world marathon record holder said he believes Kenya is likely to produce a podium sweep in the marathon at the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Tergat’s prediction comes as the country prepares big names for marathon duty in Paris.
Apart from Kenya’s potential for a clean podium sweep in the marathon, Tergat predicted that more athletes were likely to run under two hours in competitive races.
The NOC-K boss also foresees 1500m world record holder Faith Kipyegon’s successful career in the long distances, if she transits to the marathon.
In a video shared by Olympics.com, a confident Tergat says, the 2024 Paris show would be one of the best Olympics ever.
“We are looking to maybe have 1-2-3 (finish) if all goes well,” Tergat said.
Tergat, the first man to run a 42km race under 2:05 when he set the marathon world record of 2:04:55, 20 years ago in Berlin said with modern technology, athletes have a better chance of running below two hours.
According to Tergat, modern athletics is dynamic, and inspires hope. He cites advances in shoe technology.
“There is so much technology now, unlike during our time, even in terms of shoes and all that.
“I want to see many athletes running under two hours in the near future,” Tergat says in the video.
He says it is exciting for Kenya to have the two fastest marathoners in the world – world record breaker Kelvin Kiptum and two-time Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge.
The former World Cross Country champion says Kelvin Kiptum meteoric rise to stardom was not a surprise.
“(Kelvin) Kiptum was not a surprise. There are so many Kiptums in Kenya. There are also so many Kiptums in Ethiopia that if given the opportunity can do wonders,” Tergat said.
He says the world should look forward to fireworks and excitement in Paris 2024.
On Faith Kipyegon who has also expressed intentions of defending her 1500m Olympic title in Paris, Tergat said her transition to the marathon might be a huge success.
He compares Kipyegon with two-time Olympic 5000m silver medallist Hellen Obiri who transited to the marathon and is making history.
Obiri, who is in the provisional squad to the Paris Olympics is the reigning New York City and Boston Marathons champion.
“Faith is going to be one of the best marathon runners in the near future…. She broke the world record in 5000m, and I know it is easy for her to transition to the long distance,” Tergat further predicted.
Kipchoge and Kiptum featured prominently in the men’s provisional squad of 20 marathoners for the 2024 Olympics, ten from each category.
World bronze medallist Amos Kipruto and training partner, Chicago and Boston Marathon winner Benson Kipruto are also in the provisional team which will be scaled down to five in January 2024.
Others are two-time New York City Marathon champion Geoffrey Kamworor, 2022 Milano Marathon winner Titus Kipruto, 2022 Abu Dhabi Marathon champion Timothy Kiplagat, Vincent Ngetich, Cyprian Kotut and Bernard Koech.
The two-time Olympic champion, Kipchoge, if he makes the final cut, will be eyeing a third win.
Kiptum will be making his Olympic debut after the sensational rise that saw him set the world record in Chicago earlier in October.
Apart from Obiri, former world champion Ruth Chepngetich and Olympic gold medallist Peres Jepchirchir are in the star-studded tentative list.
Tokyo Marathon Rosemary Wanjiru, former world record holder Brigid Kosgei and former half marathon record holder Joyciline Jepkosgei are in the provisional list.