Kenyan athletes eye record at World Half Marathon

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Nairobi, March 23 (IANS) Kenyan athletes have not ruled out going for the world record when they line up in Saturday’s World Half Marathon championships in Valencia, Spain.

Both the men’s and women’s records will be up for grabs alongside winning the individual gold medals and Kenya’s team of eight athletes led by defending champion Geoffrey Kamworor and Joyciline Jepkosgei feel winning alone will not be enough, reports Xinhua news agency.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has put a bonus incentive worth $50,000 for any man who will run faster than the current ratified world records of Eritrean Zersenay Tadese’s 58 minutes and 23 seconds and Dutchwoman Lornah Kiplagat’s 66:25.

One of the athletes in the Kenya squad who has thrown down the gauntlet is World Cross Country silver medallist Leonard Barsoton.

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Though he is the least experienced in the Kenyan delegation, the 25-year old believes the calibre of competition in Valencia is so high that anyone to win must do it in a world record time.

“These athletes have very fast time. They have experience on how to run fast time and maybe world records. I believe to have the strength to go for it (gold), but should the world record fall in place, why not pick it?” said Barsoton on Friday.

Over 15,000 runners from 87 countries will compete in Valencia on Saturday with a record entry of 300 athletes contesting the elite race.

Alongside the bonus for breaking the world record, the IAAF is also offering a total prize purse of $245,000 with winners taking home 30,000 dollars, silver will get $15,000 dollars while third finisher will pocket $10,000.

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The prizes go down to the sixth finisher at $3,000. The best teams will also get rewarded with the top team receiving $15,000 and the sixth $3,000.

–IANS

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