London race takes shape as Kenyan Kirui eyes third world marathon title

Abel Kirui, of Kenya, waves after winning the Chicago Marathon, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Kenyan marathon ace Abel Kirui is targeting victory at both the London Marathon in April and a third world title in the same city later in the summer.

The 2012 London Olympics silver medallist and two-time IAAF World Champion bounced back to form when he won the Chicago Marathon last October, ending a four-year injury nightmare that saw him fall off the radar of elite runners at the ultimate distance.

Kirui, 34, was quoted in local press describing his outlook for 2017, and declared he was nearing his best form ever after recovering from knee and Achilles injuries that saw him miss the 2013 Moscow and 2015 Beijing Worlds.

He has thrown his hat in the ring to face what is expected to be an imposing field in the April 23 London Marathon, where he is hoping to run to the podium and convince Kenyan selectors to include him in the country’s men marathon team for the World Championships.

Kirui, who ran to two fifth-place finishes at the London city marathon with a time of 2:07:56 in 2012 and 2:08:05 in 2010 — is in line to take on several fearsome competitors.

This includes Berlin winner and Ethiopian track world record holder Kenenisa Bekele.

“By the grace of God, I shall be going for the third world title in London, but my greatest desire is to be among the top three at the London Marathon. The preparations are still on and I think I shall get an invite,” he said.

“At the World Championships we need to be always at the top. So when Kirui is there, be assured I shall make it to the podium or we get the top two positions. We need to retain our title as the leaders in the world. If I manage to achieve that, Kenyans will be happy and say that Kirui did us proud,” Kirui told local website Citizen Digital.

Kirui was the third Kenyan after Douglas Wakiihuri (1987) and Luke Kibet (2007) to win the world title at Berlin 2009 and the first to successfully defend it when he took gold at the 2011 edition in Daegu.In Berlin, Kirui set a championship record of 2:06:54 when leading compatriot Emmanuel Kipchirchir Mutai (at 2:07:48) to the Kenyan 1-2 with Ethiopian Tsegay Kebede rounding out the podium with a time of 2:08:35.

Kirui held on to his title in South Korea with the second-fastest winning time at the biennial track and field global showpiece where he clocked a season best of 2:07:38.

His fellow countryman Vincent Kipruto (2:10:06) won silver and Rio 2016 Olympics silver medallist Feyisa Lilesa from Ethiopia took the bronze with a time of 2:10:32.

Kirui dethroned Dickson Chumba as Chicago champion in a gruelling contest over the final five kilometres as Kenyans occupied the first five positions.Chumba battled jetlag to come in second with a time of 2:11:26.

That was just four seconds in arrears as Gideon Kipketer (2:12:20), Paul Lonyangata (2:13:17) and Stephen Sambu (2:13:35) closed the top five. “Chicago was not easy; it was a matter of life and death. Dickson is another talent, that you cannot afford to undermine because he is an under 2:05 guy and has been winning various races, and knows what he wants,” Kirui said.

Kirui added that it took some strategy to race Dickson.

—Xinhua

 

Next Story
LATEST STORIES
Manchester United handed injury boost as Marcos Rojo returns to training

Marcos Rojo trained with Manchester United on Tuesday as he continues his recovery from knee ligament damage, while two other first-team players also gave manager Jose Mourinho a boost.

Coutinho ready to return for Liverpool after Barcelona dream hits ‘rock bottom’

The Reds star, 25, had handed in a transfer request in a bid to join the Catalan club.

Monaco star Kylian Mbappe involved in row with team-mate amid Monaco exit rumors

Reports have emerged claiming teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe has been involved in a fight with team-mate Andrea Raggi.

Arsenal star faces ban after straight red card

Jack Wilshere is facing a suspension from Arsenal action - after being sent off for the Under-23s.

Neymar slams Barca bosses after PSG home debut

Paris Saint-Germain's world record signing Neymar launched a scathing attack on his former club's directors, saying "Barca deserve much better".

Kenyans humbled in Birmingham: Athletes stumble as search for Diamond League trophy intensifies

Obiri, Manangoi, Chebet, Birech gun for top positions with two legs to go.

More Stories
Kenyans humbled in Birmingham: Athletes stumble as search for Diamond League trophy intensifies

Obiri, Manangoi, Chebet, Birech gun for top positions with two legs to go.

Farah motors home in victorious adieu to home crowd

British athletics legend Mo Farah began the day taking a lap of honour in an open top Bentley and ended it by giving the crowd what they wanted in his final race on home turf -- a victory.

Are Kenyans losing battle in long distance running?

Athletics Local athletes find it hard to reclaim men 5,000m and 10,000m titles at global championships

Kirui, Kiplagat set for Chicago Marathon

Athletics Stars to clash in chase for World Marathon Majors pay cheque

IOC orders NOCK to complete elections

The National Olympic Committee of Kenya have been directed to conduct its long-due elections before the end of next month.

Danger looms as other countries battle to dislodge Kenyans from ‘traditional’ races

Kenya is no doubt the world’s athletics superpower. But the six-decade dominance is under threat in major championships.

Kenya to bid for 2023 world championships

Kenya is to launch a bid to host the athletics world championships in 2023 after successfully staging two other international competitions in the last 10 years.

Kenya’s athletics team back from London

Kenya managed to clinch five gold, two silver and four bronze medals in the tournament.

2017 IAAF World Championships: Kenya finishes second in the world

South Africa finished third with six medals