By GILBERT WANDERA
Two time Olympic marathon silver medalist Catherine Ndereba has tipped the current crop of Kenyan women road racers to eclipse her and win a gold medal in the 42km event at the London games.
Ndereba, who spoke after Athletics Kenya named the final team for the Olympics, said women marathon running has come of age and the time is right for them to claim an Olympic title.
Ndereba won silver in the 2004 Athens Olympic games and four years later repeated the same feat at the Beijing games in China. She said negative attitude and luck of commitment has always been the biggest impediment for the Kenyan women marathoners to excel at the top level.
"In the past they never believed that they could do it and therefore they have not taken marathon seriously. But since I won a silver medal in Athens, there has been some confidence in those who have come after me.
"There is a sense of belief that they can do it and because of that, they are now taking marathon running seriously and the results have been there for all to see in the last few years," she said.
Ndereba said all the three Kenyan women named in the final team to the Olympics deserve to be selected as they have worked hard for it.
"If you look at what they have achieved in last few years, it is obvious that they have worked for it and they deserve to be in the team. My feeling is that if they maintain that form, we will have the gold medal coming to Kenya," she added.
AK picked London champion Mary Keitany, Prisca Jeptoo winner in Paris in 2011, and World marathon champion Edna Kiplagat to represent the country in the London Olympics in July.
Apart from winning silver at the Olympic games on two occasions, Ndereba is also a two-time winner in marathon gold medal at the World Championships and has won Boston Marathon four times among other accolades.
If any of the Kenyan women wins a gold medal, it will be the first time in the country’s history.
The late Samuel Wanjiru ended kenya’s jinx in the discpline at the Olympics when he clinched gold in Beijing. Prior to that Kenya had to settle for silver from Eric Wainaina and Dauglas Wakiihuri.