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Ready for world Half: Kiprop and Kabuu lead hunt for medals in Copenhagen

By - JONATHAN KOMEN | March 27th 2014


Wilson Kiprop leads the 10,000m race at the Kenya Prisons athletics championships at the Nyayo National Stadium. He will be part of Kenya’s team to the World Half Marathon in Copenhagen, Denmark. [PHOTO: DENNIS OKEYO/STANDARD]

Wilson Kiprop and Lucy Kabuu will lead Kenyan charges to the 20th IAAF World Half Marathon Championships which will be held in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Saturday.

Former Champion Kiprop and Kabuu, the duo that have posted impressive performance at the Ras Al Khaimah 21km race in United Arab Emirates, are expected to weather the storm when called upon on Saturday afternoon.

Kiprop, who finished third at the RAK Half Marathon in 59:45, will lead quest to dethrone Eritrea’s Zersenay Tadese, the five-time IAAF world half marathon champion, in the streets of Copenhagen.

Kiprop, who lives near Eldoret International Airport, stands among the few athletes to have beaten the Eritrean over the 21km distance.

“I am in great shape now. We will embrace teamwork and we will give it our best. Even in the presence of him (Tadese), we can pull surprises. It’s only a matter of planning,” said Kiprop, winner of 2010 World Half Marathon.

Formidable team

He will marshal the forces with former World Junior cross-country champion Geoffrey Kipsang, the fastest man over the 21km race in 2013 with his 58:54 victory in Ras Al Khaimah in UAE.

The other members of the Kenyan men’s team are Robert Kwemoi Chemosin, Simon Cheprot, Kenneth Kiprop Kipkemoi and reserve athlete Cyprian Kimurgor Kotut. All the six have run under the 60 minute mark.

Kipsang, who was seventh fastest 21km runner in 2011, can well pull a surprise in Copenhagen.

“We have an experienced team and I believe good planning will see us carry the day,” he said.

Kabuu, who ran a blistering 66:09 personal best time last year in Ras Al Khaimah, will lead Kenyan women’s onslaught.

Good record

Kabuu, who finished third at last month’s Tokyo Marathon, needs to move smartly for another 21km good show.

In the five half marathon races she has entered, Kabuu has won all but one.

“I want to do my best as this will boost a project I am working on at home. I am constructing my private school called Siku Njema Academy in Nyahururu,” said Kabuu.

World 10,000m silver medallist Gladys Cherono, who set a personal best mark of 66:48 last year, is also itching for glory. The 13-member team, which will also include three officials, jetted out last evening aboard KLM to Amsterdam before connecting to Copenhagen the Dannish capital.

They will be seeking to match the brilliant shows set in Nanning, China, in 2010 where world 21km record holder Florence Kiplagat and Wilson Kiprop anchored Kenya to individual and team gold medals.

In 2012 in Kavarna, Bulgaria, Kenya won two individual medals where John Mwangangi and Paskalia Chepkorir struck bronze medals that saw men and women won team gold and silver medals respectively. 

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