Defending champ Chebet out of New York City showdown

Kenya's Evans Chebet collapses after crossing the finish line in the men's division of the New York City Marathon on November 6, 2022. Chebet has withdrawn from this year's race. [File]

The New York City Marathon champion Evans Chebet will not defend his title in this year's edition next month, organisers have said.

Double New York City Marathon winner Geoffrey Kamworor is also out of the November 5, 2023 showdown.

Chebet had bagged his second Boston Marathon title in April and was looking to once again control the proceedings in New York, three weeks from today.

Kamworor on the other hand had a third New York City Marathon win on target, but is out.

The organisers, New York Road Runners announced on Friday that the two Kenyan bigwigs were among the scratches.

"Defending champion Evans Chebet (Kenya), two-time champion Geoffrey Kamworor (Kenya), two-time world silver medalist Mosinet Geremew (Ethiopia), 2022 world champion Gotytom Gebreslase (Ethiopia), last year's runner-up Lonah Chemtai Salpeter (Israel) and 2022 London Marathon champion Yalemzerf Yehualaw (Ethiopia) have all scratched from the race," organisers said in a statement.

No reasons were given for the bigwigs' pulling out from the final World Marathon Major this year.

In his New York City Marathon debut last year, Chebet pulled away from the pack heading into Manhattan to win the men's race in 2:08:41 seven months after topping the 2022 Boston Marathon.

He became the eighth man in history to win both races in the same year and the first since 2011.

Until Friday, Chebet was favoured to become the first New York City Marathon champion to win the men's title back-to-back since Geoffrey Mutai did so ten years ago.

New York City Marathon champion Albert Korir will be the Kenyan to watch on the streets of New York. He will race alongside compatriot Edward Cheserek, a debutant.

They will face 2022 World Marathon champion Tamirat Tola, a late entrant into the race.

Tola has his sights tuned on the New York City Marathon podium finish after placing fourth in his previous two appearances in 2018 and 2019.

"Olympic medallist and former world champion Tamirat Tola and world bronze medallist Amedework Walelegn - both from Ethiopia - have been added to the men's open division of the professional athlete field for the 2023 TCS New York City Marathon on Sunday, November 5," the organisers said.

Sharon Lokedi, the surprise winner of the 2022 edition of the New York City race will be defending her title.

Last year, Lokedi pulled away in the final two miles to win the New York City Marathon in 2:23.23 in her 42km debut.

She became the eighth athlete to win the New York City Marathon in their debut. An injury had forced Lokedi to withdraw from this year's Boston Marathon in April.

Lokedi overcame hot temperatures in New York to triumph at the 2022 edition.

She will be leading Kenyan charges; Brigid Kosgei, the third-fastest woman marathoner, Olympic Champion, and 2021 winner of the New York City Marathon and the reigning Boston Marathon champion Hellen Obiri among other bigshots.

Edna Kiplagat, 43, the legendary athlete, who is the 2010 winner of the New York City Marathon and a double winner in Boston as well as Viola Cheptoo who placed fifth in New York last year will be in the mix.

The Kenyan women will compete with Ethiopia's Letesenbet Gidey, an Olympic 10,000m gold medallist among other world-class road racers.

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