Kenya’s Saina pledges to redeem marathon career after poor show in New York

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Nairobi, Nov 6 (IANS) Kenya’s Betsy Saina is not walking away from marathons despite failing to finish in her first two attempts, in Tokyo and now in New York.

The 29-year-old Kenyan had high hopes of a podium finish in the New York marathon on Sunday, but was forced out and had to watch as American Shalane Flanagan and Geoffrey Kamworor of Kenya claimed the titles, reports Xinhua news agency.

“After New York Marathon, I want to always represent my country in other events like the World Championship. The 2019 World Championships in Qatar is a realistic target,” Saina said on Monday.

Saina, who was eighth at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing (31:51.35), lined up for the Tokyo Marathon early this year but didn’t finish because of injury. The same thing happened in New York; however, she is not throwing in the towel yet.

“Dreams are not achieved overnight, I have failed before but I know it’s not the end of everything but I know someday I will achieve,” she said.

With her training going well, Saina expects to finish her first marathon and use it as a springboard to launch her marathon career.

“I spent a lot of time getting ready for (New York), but it didn’t go well. Even the biblical (Noah’s) Ark was not built in one day. Thank you to everyone who was supporting me, I will be back, tough times don’t last but people do. Thank you New York for such an amazing opportunity,” she said.

Saina does not need to look far for inspiration, but watch the winner of the women’s race in New York for her answers.

Flanagan, 36, ended a 40-year drought for US women at the race, to finish as a highly emotional, euphoric champion.

In the days before the race, defending champion Mary Keitany of Kenya had indicated the course record of 2:22:31 may be on her radar, but in cool, blustery conditions, such plans were jettisoned after the start.

Flanagan clocked 2:26:53, more than a minute in front of Keitany (2:27:54) and Ethiopia’s Mamitu Daska (2:28:08).

–IANS

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