Kandie, Jepchirchir shift focus to Olympics after Valencia heroics

Kandie, Jepchirchir shift focus to Olympics after Valencia heroics

Half marathon world record holders Kibiwott Kandie and Peres Jepchirchir are now eyeing next year’s Olympics Games after a successful outing in Valencia on Sunday.

The all-conquering team jetted back in the country on Monday night and was received by Athletics Kenya (AK) officials at the federation’s headquarters on Tuesday.

The athletes present alongside the pair included men’s 42km winner Evans Chebet, world marathon bronze medallist Amos Kipruto who placed fourth in the men’s marathon and former world marathon champion Geoffrey Kirui.

Others were, Alexander Mutiso and Dorcas Tuitoek who placed fourth in men’s and women’s half marathon respectively.

Kandie won the men’s half marathon in a world record of 57:32 en route to smashing the previous record of 58:01 held by compatriot Geoffrey Kamworor.

After capping a successful season in the Spanish City that also saw him clinch victories at the Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) and Prague Half Marathons as well as a silver medal at the World Half Marathon in Poland, Kandie says he is now eyeing a slot in Kenya’s team for Olympic Games

“I am now looking forward to next year where my priority is to compete in 10,000m at the Olympic Games. I am optimistic that with good preparations I will earn a slot in the Kenyan team,” said Kandie.

The 24-year-old said he will first give a shot at the World Cross Country Championships slated for March in Bathurst, Australia.

Kandie said he had set his mind on lowering the world record mark as he geared towards the Valencia race.

“Owing to my preparations prior to the race, I had a feeling I could break the world record however I kept it to myself and prayed to God to give me good health on that day and I am glad it went through,” he said.

Similarly, Jepchirchir enjoyed a stellar season as she broke the women’s-only half marathon twice before winning the 42km race in Valencia in a personal best of 2:17:16

With the Olympics Games postponed to next summer in Tokyo, Japan, Jepchirchir is hopeful her scintillating form can still earn her a slot in the Kenyan marathon team for the Summer Games.

“When I was heading to Valencia, I was looking for fast times to earn qualifications for the Olympics. My target was to hit 2:18 mark but I am grateful I managed 2:17 and I am hopeful AK will consider me for a slot in the team,” said Jepchirchir.

The athletes were received by AK officials; CEO Susan Kamau, senior vice president Paul Mutwii, head of Youth Development Barnaba Korir and executive member John Kimetto.