Kamworor seeks to retain half marathon title, win Olympic gold

Nairobi, Jan 4 (IANS) Winning gold at the Rio Olympics will be a dream come true for Kenyan and world 10,000 metres silver medallist Geoffrey Kamworor.

The 22-year-old, will shelve all his plans to compete in the marathon distance so as to focus on training for the ultimate distance in track competition against his biggest rival and world 10,000m champion Mo Farah of Britain, reports Xinhua.

“For me, it will be good to focus on training for the Olympics and not doing any major marathons in April. For now the focus is on defending my world half marathon crown in Cardiff in March,” Kamworor said on Monday from Eldoret.

At the Beijing World Championships last August, Kamworor came close to beating Farah but lacked the final strength to push through in the home straight.

It earned Farah his sixth consecutive major title on the track but the Briton acknowledged the Kenyans gave him his toughest test so far. “It felt like it was me against the whole team,” he said.

Kamworor may have had to settle for the silver medal behind Farah in Beijing but he left Guiyang City for the World Cross Country Championships with the gold.

He later went to New York and won silver behind compatriot Stanley Biwott. But marathon will take a back seat as Kamworor chases his dream for Olympic gold medal.

For the time being, the 42km long runs will be put on the backburner as Kamworor turns his focus to the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships (Cardiff) and the Rio 2016 Olympic Games where he is aiming to make the Kenyan team for the 10,000m again.

“I will introduce some more speed work and shorter runs into my training programme as I build towards Rio 2016. But more importantly will be for me to keep my faith and run as best as I could. Front running has always been my tactic,” he said. “I always go for great results.”

Still only 22, it was his third major triumph to date and his second senior global title after winning the 2014 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Copenhagen.

Now the Kenyan has his sights set on defending his latter crown at the World Half Marathon Championships in Cardiff, where he looks set to keep faithful with the aggressive tactics which have served him so well.

“My focus is on the World Half Marathon Championships now,” said the reigning champion. “But if the conditions and the course is okay, I will attempt to break the world record (58:23 minutes by Eritrea’s Zersenay Tadese in 2010) in Cardiff.”

No man has won the world half marathon title in a world record time though several came close.

Kenya’s Shem Kororia won the 1997 gold medal in 59:56, just nine seconds outside what was then the world best and Kamworor himself was only 45 seconds outside the Tadese’ s world record when he won in 59:08 in Copenhagen last year.

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