Nairobi, March 18 (IANS) Kenya’s Geoffrey Kamworor believes he will withstand the challenges from runners of Ethiopia and the United States to clinch his third title in IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Valencia, Spain on March 24.
The 25-year-old, who is also a twice world cross-country champion, won in Copenhagen in 2014 and Cardiff in 2016, reports Xinhua news agency.
“The focus will be on me as usual. However, I have trained well and hope to travel to Spain without any concerns. I feel no pressure and will be running my own race,” he said on Sunday.
More than 300 athletes are expected to be in the action as 176 men and 139 women have been confirmed to compete in the Spanish city.
“Even with the expected slight drop in numbers ahead of the publication of the official start lists, the number of athletes competing in Valencia will likely top the record of 254 achieved at the 1993 edition in Brussels, when there was a junior race in addition to the senior races,” a statement from IAAF said.
The elite athletes will be joined by thousands of recreational and club runners who will also be in the mass participation race on the same course.
Kamworor, who skipped both the Africa Cross Country and the Commonwealth Games to focus on the assignment in Valencia, believes his move will be vindicated if he clinches the third title in a row.
“I felt it was right to leave the two events for upcoming athletes to make their names. I wanted to focus on the World Half Marathon and hopefully I will return home with a gold medal,” he added.
Kamworor will be teaming up with Alex Oloitiptip, who replaced Bedan Karoki, who is nursing an injury.
Others are world cross-country silver medallist Leonard Barsoton, two-time Usti nad Labem Half Marathon winner Barselius Kipyego, and relative newcomer Jorum Okombo, who ran 58:48 minutes to finish second in Copenhagen last year.