Kipsang promises to fly Kenya's flag high in Beijing
With the 15th IAAF World Athletics Championships men’s marathon race lined for Saturday, it remains to be seen which tactics Kenyan runners will employ in order to stop Uganda’s defending champion Stephen Kiprotich.
While competing on the course, the late Sammy Wanjiru struck Kenya’s first Olympic marathon title in 2008, surely, the Kenyans must be at their best in that quest.
Former world marathon record holder Wilson Kipsang will lead all-time best man Dennis Kimetto and Paris Marathon Winner Mark Korir to their medal hunt in Chinese capital.
Two-time world marathon champion Edna Kiplagat, Seoul marathon winner Hela Kirop, Rock and Roll Lisbon Marathon winner Visiline Jepkesio and former Rotterdam Marathon winner Jemimah Sumgong will do duty in the women category as they get down on their title defence bid.
Gilbert Koech, the 2009 San Antonio Marathon winner and Isaac Kirwa of Kenya Police, will guide the team to the biennial showpiece.
“We are ready and promise to perform well in Beijing,” said Kipsang, a two-time London Marathon winner.
He added that they will correct the mistakes Kenyans made in Moscow, Russia, in 2013 when no Kenyan marathoner made it to the podium despite having ruled the well-heeled big city marathons.
“We have had enough training and the morale is high. This is a sign of our mental and physical preparedness,” said Kipsang.
Edna Kiplagat expressed optimism that they can deliver a good show since all the athletes are in top form. “We are asking God for the best results and we are upbeat of bringing good results because we have agreed to run all races as a team,” said Kiplagat.
The team’s head coach Julius Kirwa said he has an experienced side and there is no doubt the athletes will post good results.
“Having former and current world record holders in the men’s team and two-time winner in the women’s side gives us an upper hand in the global event,” he said.
Kirwa added that Beijing’s climate is almost the same as Iten’s, where the team had pitched camp and they are sure they have adapted well.
Meanwhile, hundreds of mourners attended the burial of IAAF athletes’ agent Edward Zane Branson in Iten yesterday.
Branson, who was the director of the Prague-based International Athletics Consultancy, died two weeks ago in Iten.
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