Kenya’s Tirop targets Africa C’ships gold despite road race supremacy

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Nairobi, May 28 (IANS) World 10,000 metre bronze medallist Agnes Tirop said despite her dominance in road races, she remains a track athlete and is focused on winning gold at the Africa Championships, which will be held in Nigeria in August.

Tirop, who won gold at the Nanjing World Cross Country in China in 2015, has had problems with injuries, which curtailed her rise in the sport, reports Xinhua news agency.

However, she has emerged stronger in late 2017 and this season and hopes to continue growing stronger on her redemption path.

“I had a good race on the track in Doha (over 3,000m at the IAAF Diamond League meeting there earlier this month) and I still think of myself as a track runner even though I won the world cross country title in 2015 and in Bengaluru,” Tirop said on Sunday.

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The Kenyan will resume the premier Diamond League series in Rome on May 30 and hopes she will be strong enough to contest for medals in the 5,000m race.

“I know my finishing speed is fine, so I hope to still be at the front when Kenya trials for the Africa Championships are held in June. I know I can rely on my speed to have an edge over my rivals,” she added.

The 23-year-old won the world 10km race in Bengaluru on Sunday together with compatriot Geoffrey Kamworor, who is also the World Half Marathon champion.

Kamworor has not lost a race since 2017. He has featured in four top competitions and has always emerged stronger.

His unbeaten streak, which started with his win at the New York Marathon in November, has continued through his four outings in 2018.

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“I went to India thinking about the course record and tried the best I could, but I could feel the temperature rising as I was warming up. I was jogging for just three minutes before starting to sweat,” said Kamworor.

The New York marathon champion has not ruled out competing for Kenya at the Africa Championships.

However, that decision will have to be taken in discussion with his management and coaches. But he is certain that he will be ready to defend his New York marathon crown.

“I have not made up my mind about running in the Africa Championships. That will be decided later. What I know is I want to defend my crown in New York. I skipped a lot of track competition last year and early this year to focus on the World Half marathon and now I have to decide which events to focus on,” he added.

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