Chicago Marathon second runner-up Eric Kiptanui and Rotterdam marathon champion Stella Barsosio will lead Kenyan big shots to the Commonwealth Games in July and August.
The team was unveiled by the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) in Eldoret yesterday.
The team of eight marathoners (four in each category) promised to write history by winning the biggest number of medals for the country in the Club Games slated for July 28 to August 8 in Birmingham, UK.
Other athletes named in the men’s marathon squad to Birmingham are Jonathan Korir, who finished second at last year’s Enschede Marathon, Philemon Kacheran, who placed third in Valencia last year and the reigning Fukuoka International Open Marathon champion Michael Githae.
“As the men’s team we have agreed to try our best to sweep the podium in Birmingham,” Korir, the captain of the men’s marathon team said during the unveiling.
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The women’s charges comprise two-time winner of Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon Purity Changwony, Margaret Wangari and Maurine Chepkemoi, who is fresh from winning Enschede Marathon in April.
“As a team we have met and we have promised to do our best to bring home the medals,” Wangari, the captain of the women’s marathon team said.
NOC-K president Paul Tergat expressed optimism of a stellar performance by the marathon team.
Tergat said NOC-K have high expectations in the team and will fully support its training.
“We have assembled the very best team. I congratulate the team and I wish to tell them that they have earned a very prestigious place of carrying the country’s flag in the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham,” Tergat said while announcing the team in Kenmosa Village, Eldoret.
The selected marathoners have been training in various camps.
Tergat said the team will soon be in camp until the day of departure to Birmingham.
“We expect more from them going forward. They have promised us that they will represent the country well in Birmingham,” he said.
He said other Birmingham-bound teams will be selected in June.
Athletics Kenya Senior vice president and competitions director Paul Mutwii said the team was carefully selected based on the marathoner’s recent performances in key races.
“The team has been selected from the best of the best in the country. They have competed and won City marathons across the globe,” Mutwii said.
“We are happy to present the selected marathon team to represent the country in the Commonwealth Games. NOC-K now prepares the team ahead of the games.”
According to NOC-K Secretary General Francis Mutuku, the marathon team will train individually in their respective camps for a number of days before converging in one camp ahead of departure to the UK.
While training separately and individually, Mutuku said, the marathoners will be entitled to equal support from the committee.