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Kenyans ready to dominate in Istanbul race

Athletics - World Athletics Half Marathon Championships - Gdynia, Poland - October 17, 2020. Kenya's Peres Jepchirchir celebrates on the podium with her medal and cheque after winning gold and breaking the women-only world record. [REUTERS/Rafal Oleksiewicz]

World marathon record holder Brigid Kosgei and world champion Ruth Chepnetich will highlight the Istanbul half marathon as preparation for the Tokyo Olympic Games gathers momentum.

Women-only world half marathon record holder Peres Jepchirchir also highlights the strong women field.

Kosgei, Chepngetich and Jepchirchir are part of the Kenyan women contingent to the Olympic Games women marathon in August and the April 4 race is part of their preparations for the global show.

Kosgei and Chepngetich management — Rosa Associati management — confirmed that the duo is part of an elite field assembled for the Turkish race.

“Marathon world record holder Brigid Kosgei, marathon world champion Ruth Chepngetich and world half marathon bronze medalist Amdework Walelegn will take part in Istanbul half marathon on April 4,” the management announced.

Also in the women field is Joan Chelimo, the two-time world half marathon champion.

World Marathon runner and 'It Can Be' Brand Ambassador Brigid Kosgei during unveiling of the partnership with Stanbic Bank as a contribution to Women empowerment. Feb 4, 2021. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Having staged a successful edition under intense measures against Covid-19 in September last year, organisers of the event are now set to stage a race with the number of participants limited to 4000 on its traditional date of the first Sunday of April.

In the men’s category, the race will see the long-awaited clash of the reigning and former world record-holders Kibiwott Kandie and Geoffrey Kamworor respectively over the distance.

Kandie improved the time set by Kamworor in Valencia in December, bringing down the world record to 57:32 from 58:01 set by the latter.

Kamworor, who has three World Athletics Half Marathon Championships gold medals under his belt, will be back on the roads following his recovery from surgery after he was hit by a motorcycle in June last year.

The two Kenyans will be joined by two sub-59 minute runners in Amedework Walelegn of Ethiopia and Uganda’s Stephen Kissa. 

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