Aiyabei targeting Tokyo bliss

Frankfurt Marathon champion Valary Aiyabei has promised to deliver “something good” when she competes at the 14th edition of Tokyo Marathon on Sunday.

The 28-year-old will battle it out with defending champion Ruti Aga of Ethiopia, Lornah Salpeter Chemtai of Israel and compatriot Sally Chepyego.

Also, in the line-up are former champions Birhane Dibaba (2015 and 2018) and Tirfi Tsegay (2014) with five athletes having run sub 2:20.

Being her second World Marathon Majors race since placing third at the 2017 Berlin Marathon, Aiyabei with a personal best of 2:19:10 is ready to leave a mark at the Japanese capital.

“For the last three to four months my training has been good. Because this will be my second major marathon, I would like to deliver something good, something that I will remember Tokyo for,” said Aiyabei.

The in-form athlete had an impeccable season in 2019 where apart from reigning supreme at Frankfurt, she also dominated local races winning Eldoret City marathon, won Kabarak Half marathon and Iten 10km road race.

The athlete further disclosed that she has recovered form an injury she suffered recently.

“For the last one week I had a small injury but I have recovered fully and ready for the race on Sunday,” she said.

Aiyabei and Chepyego are also selected as reserves in Kenya’s team for Olympic Games that will be held in the Japanese city of Sapporo.

In the men’s field, defending champion Birhanu Legese of Ethiopia will take on Kenyans led by two-time champion Dickson Chumba, world bronze medallist Amos Kipruto, the 2019 Tokyo Marathon first runners up Bedan Karoki and Honolulu marathon champion Titus Ekiru.

Apart from Chumba, the trio of Kipruto, Karoki and Ekiru have been named in the Kenyan team for the Summer Games with Karoki and Ekiru named as reserves.

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