Kenya braces for Bahamas, London athletics action
Athletics enthusiasts are in for a treat this weekend as the IAAF World Relays kicks off on Saturday in Bahamas, a day before the Virgin Money London Marathon fires off some 7000km away in the United Kingdom.
The London Marathon will serve as the main attraction on Sunday morning as London Olympics silver medalist and two-time world champion Abel Kirui leads the Kenyan charge that includes Amsterdam champion Daniel Kinyua Wanjiru and Bedan Karoki who will be making his full marathon debut.
The three face a daunting opposition in their bids for the prestigious London title with East African arch rivals Ethiopians championed by track legend and Berlin marathon titleholder Kennisa Bekele (2:03.03).
Kirui is crossing fingers with the hope triumph at the English capital will earn a nod from selectors of the IAAF World Athletics Championships scheduled for August.
“By the grace of God, I shall be going for the for the third world title in London but my greatest desire is to be among the top three at the London Marathon.
“We need to to stay on top and retain our title as the leaders in the world. If I manage to achieve that, Kenyans will be happy and proud,” Kirui, a Senior Administration Police officer told Citizen Digital in an earlier interview.
Though it will be his first time at a World Major marathon, Wanjiru, whose win at the Dutch city reminded the country about the late golden Samuel Kamau Wanjiru, the first Kenya to win an Olympics marathon gold medal, is unfazed by the rich elite field as he aims for a podium finish.
“I have been doing my preparations well. I started if off in December and participated only in one half marathon. I was able to gauge my body and I saw that it was okay.
“When I came back to Kenya, I started to finalise on my preparations. I did my training with an aim of wining this race and hope that I shall be able to achieve it,” Wanjiru said.
-Battle of the titans-
The women elite race will be a battle of the superwomen led by the fastest woman on course ‘Ms’ London marathon Mary Keitany (2:18.37).
The two-time London marathon champion will team up with two-time Chicago Marathon champion Florence Kiplagat (2:19.44) and ‘Pocket Rocket’ Vivian Cheruiyot as she makes her marathon debut in a compelling field almost matched like for like by their Ethiopian rivals.
Keitany who is also a two-time New York City marathon champion has her eyes set on the podium as she and Kiplagat hope to book themselves a ticket in Team Kenya for the London championships.
The duo failed to represent the country at the Rio 2016 Olympics Games after they were named as reserve athletes. Though Jemimah Sumgong delivered Kenya the much-coveted Olympics women marathon title.
Sumgong, will be a big miss in London after she failed an out of competition dope test ahead of the London Marathon.
The race organizers confirmed that she will not be defending her title after her sample A tested positive for the banned blood booster EPO.
2017 Virgin Money London Marathon elite men and personal bests
- Kenenisa Bekele (ETH) 2:03:03
- Tesfaye Abera (ETH) 2:04:24
- Feyisa Lilesa (ETH) 2:04:52
- Abel Kirui (KEN) 2:05:04
- Daniel Wanjiru (KEN) 2:05:21
- Tilahun Regassa (ETH) 2:05:27
- Abraham Tadesse (SUI) 2:06:40
- Ghirmay Ghebreslassie (ERI) 2:07:46
- Amanuel Mesel (ERI) 2:08:17
- Asefa Mengstu (ETH) 2:08:41
- Oleksandr Sitkovsky (UKR) 2:09:11
- Alphonce Felix Simbu (TAN) 2:09:19
- Javier Guerra (ESP) 2:09:33
- Ghebre Kibrom (ERI) 2:09:36
- Vitaliy Shafar (UKR) 2:09:53
- Michael Shelley (AUS) 2:11:15
- Chris Thompson (GBR) 2:11:19
- Bayron Piedra (ECU) 2:14:12
- Kevin Seaward (IRL) 2:14:52
- Mick Clohisey (IRL) 2:15:11
- Robbie Simpson (GBR) 2:15:38
- Ian Kimpton (GBR) 2:15:55
- Matthew Hynes (GBR) 2:16:00
- Bouabdellah Tahri (FRA) 2:16:28
- Andrew Davies (GBR) 2:16:55
- Tom Anderson (GBR) 2:19:52
- Jesús Arturo Esparza (MEX) 2:23:04
- Bedan Karoki Muchiri (KEN) Debut
- Mary Keitany (KEN) 2:18:37
- Aselefech Mergia (ETH) 2:19:31
- Florence Kiplagat (KEN) 2:19:44
- Mare Dibaba (ETH) 2:19:52
- Aberu Kebede (ETH) 2:20:30
- Tirunesh Dibaba (ETH) 2:20:35
- Helah Kiprop (KEN) 2:21:27
- Tigist Tufa (ETH) 2:21:52
- Ana Dulce Felix (POR) 2:25:15
- Lisa Weightman (AUS) 2:26:05
- Andrea Deelstra (NED) 2:26:46
- Maja Neuenschwander (SUI) 2:26:49
- Diana Lobacevske (LTU) 2:28:03
- Laura Thweatt (USA) 2:28:23
- Krista DuChene (CAN) 2:28:32
- Kellyn Taylor (USA) 2:28:40
- Alyson Dixon (GBR) 2:29:30
- Louise Damen (GBR) 2:30:00
- Charlotte Purdue (GBR) 2:30:04
- Maryna Damantsevich (BLR) 2:30:07
- Susan Partridge (GBR) 2:30:46
- Tracy Barlow (GBR) 2:32:05
- Jenny Spink (GBR) 2:35:57
- Yelena Dolinin (ISR) 2:35:59
- Tish Jones (GBR) 2:36:13
- Barbara Sanchez (IRL) 2:37:14
- Hanna Vandenbussche (BEL) 2:38:35
- Vivian Cheruiyot (KEN) Debut