Nairobi, July 26 (IANS) Just a week before heading to London for the World Athletics Championships, the Kenya men’s marathon team is confident that it will reclaim the world title in the longest and toughest competition.
It will be the first time that Kenya will be entrusting this task to a batch of young athletes who are yet to affirm their prowess repeatedly on the global stage in big city marathon races, reports Xinhua news agency.
With top names opting to chase money in Berlin or Chicago, the Kenya team members will relish the chance to take on the world and stake their claim to silverware that is hard to come by in a field filled with elite marathoners.
Boston Marathon champion Geoffrey Kirui, Gideon Kipketer, the Tokyo Marathon silver medallist and London marathon champion Daniel Wanjiru have wound down their training in Eldoret and will move to Nairobi briefly before heading to London.
“Training has gone down well. We are in the last stages here winding down on areas that need to be worked on. The real hard training is done and I am happy nobody has been forced out with an injury,” said Kirui.
The challenge ahead is tough after world record holders Wilson Kipsang and Eliud Kipchoge withdrew from the team.
Kenyans have done well in this competition save for a little interruption from Uganda’s Stephen Kiprotich who won in Moscow.
Kenya missed out on medals at the Beijing World Championships with Eritrea’s Ghirmay Ghebreslassie claiming gold ahead of Yemane Tsegaye of Ethiopia and Uganda’s Munyo Solomon Mutai.
The Kenyans are keen to run as a team in London despite the fact that the trio has no experience of competing at the world championships.
“For the three of us, we will be running as new athletes in the championships but that will not lower our morale to perform better. We will help each other and make sure we all get into the medal bracket if possible,” said Kirui.
The women’s team has more experience in World Championships competition with Edna Kiplagat having won twice and Helah Kiprop having struck silver at the last championships in Beijing.