Kenya’s half marathon record holder Kibiwott Kandie now gunning for 10,000m Tokyo Olympics gold

Kibiwott Kandie, the new world record half marathon holder poses with his trophy upon arrival from Valencia Marathon at AK offices in Nairobi on December 8, 2020. [Kelly Ayodi, Standard]

Kenya’s half marathon record holder Kibiwott Kandie says he is shifting his focus to the 10,000m as he looks to earn a ticket for this year’s Tokyo Olympics and help end his country’s 53-year wait for a gold medal in the event.

Kandie smashed the half marathon world record by 29 seconds at the Valencia Half Marathon last month, finishing in 57 minutes and 32 seconds and breaking the previous record of 58:01 set by compatriot Geoffrey Kamworor in September 2019.

Kenya’s last Olympic gold in the 10,000m came in 1968 when Naftali Temu triumphed in Mexico City, and Kandie is hoping to go one better than Paul Tergat and Paul Tanui, who won silver in 2000 and 2016 respectively.

Peris Jepchirchir, Amos Kipruto, Kibiwott Kandie upon arrival on Tuesday, December 8, 2020, from Valencia Marathon. [Kelly Ayodi, Standard]

“I have the drive to prove to the world that I can also perform in track, that is why I made a decision to compete in a 10,000m event with the aim of securing an Olympic ticket,” Kandie told the Xinhua news agency.

“I will be more than happy to see the Kenyan flag being hoisted for the 10,000m in Tokyo.

“I know we, as a country, haven’t posted the best results in 10,000m recently but I believe with teamwork and early preparations we will be able to achieve good results in Tokyo.”

Kandie will face stiff competition from Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei. 

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