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Friday, July 21, 2017

Kipsang eyes world championships slot

Former World Marathon record holder Wilson Kipsang and steeplechase runner Milcah Chemos at a past event. /Stanley Magut.
Former World Marathon record holder Wilson Kipsang and steeplechase runner Milcah Chemos at a past event. /Stanley Magut.

Former world marathon record holder Wilson Kipsang has set his sight on the 2017 World Championships after failing to lower Dennis Kimetto’s mark during the Tokyo Marathon.

However, Kipsang managed to set a new course record and believes this gives him the pedigree to claim for a slot in the Kenyan marathon team to London.

Kipsang, who arrived bak home to a heroic reception over the weekend, expressed his willing to dorn the black, white, green and red stripes if only the selectors pick on him for the global showpiece.

Kipsang clocked 2:03.58 for the fastest ever time on Japanese soil, just months after lowering his personal best to 2:03.13 at the Berlin marathon last year, a race he lost to Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele.

“I was very impressed by the performance in Tokyo and that has raised my morale as I seek to represent Kenya at the World Championships in London ifgiven a chance,” Kipsang said.

It was his fourth time to run sub-2:04, joining the league of all-time best marathoners.

“I have finished my first race this year. The second is ‘the race to Parliament’ and the third will be at the World Championships. I will be training as well as campaigning since balancing the two is manageable. Tokyo victory can attest to that,” Kipsang said.

His focus was fixed to a world record when he left for Tokyo but missed it for the second time.

“I missed the mark because the weather was not favourable. It was cold and the winds heavy. But I am still focused on setting a new one. This remains my target since I feel I am not yet done,” he said.

Kipsang had set the world record at 2:03.23 at the Berlin Marathon in 2013 but compatriot Dennis Kimetto wiped it out the following year to 2:02.57.

The two-time London marathon winner attempted to reclaim it last year in Berlin, but finished second with a personal best of 2:03.13.

The athlete who is vying for Keiyo parliamentary seat has represented Kenya three times at the championships.

He made his debut in Team Kenya at the 2009 World Half Marathon Championships in England. He returned there three years later where he bagged a marathon bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics.

At the 2015 World Championships in Beijing, Kipsang was the race favourite alongside world record holder Kimetto, but both of them failed to finish.

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