Tough test for Lokedi as she seeks to retain New York City crown

Sharon Lokedi, of Kenya, crosses the finish line first in the women's division of the New York City Marathon on Nov. 6, 2022, in New York. [AP]

Resilience, superb display of tactics and show of class are expected to play out as world's fastest athletes line up in the New York City Marathon on Sunday.

Kenyan women are in New York, ready for the showdown as they look into extending their dominance in the World Marathon Majors.

The New York City race is the last, this year, of the six World Marathon majors.

And some athletes will be sending the signals on who will likely control the proceedings at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Kenyan charges led by defending champion Sharon Lokedi will be eyeing glory.

Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir and former world record holder Brigid Kosgei as well as Boston Marathon winner, this year, Hellen Obiri will be seeking to write history.

Edna Kiplagat, 43, taking the most solid experience in the marathon to New York tomorrow will feature in the race, with Viola Cheptoo and Mary Ngugi in the mix.

The contingent will be facing 2022 10,000m world champion Letesnbet Gidey of Ethiopia and her compatriot Fantu Jifar in what is likely to be a cat-fight of the year.

However, athletes making comebacks from injuries are looking to cause upsets.

Take for instance Peres Jepchichir, who stormed to a New York City Marathon win in 2021, just weeks after winning an Olympic gold medal at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

She will today decide whether she would actually compete in the Sunday race. This is after she suffered a calf injury while training last Saturday.

Jepchirchir told the media in New York on Thursday that the injury was being managed by physiotherapists and a decision on whether she would race tomorrow would be made today.

"I'm not happy because of the injury. It is disappointing that when I am preparing for a major competition, I get an injury. The situation is being managed and I assure you (fans) that although I am not happy, injuries in training are normal. I am hopeful that I will be fit," Jepchirchir said.

Kosgei, whose world record was shattered by Ethiopian Tigst Assefa at the 2023 Berlin Marathon in September says she is back to form after injuries that threatened her career since last year.

She last won the 2022 Tokyo Marathon before knee and hamstring injuries affected her racing.

Defending champion, Lokedi, said she had recovered from an inflammation in her tibialis.

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