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January 17, 2019

Jep faces Dibaba in Airtel Deli half marathon

Joyciline Jepkosgei in a past race /COURTESY
Joyciline Jepkosgei in a past race /COURTESY

Kenya’s world half marathon record holder Joyciline Jepkosgei has been added to the women’s elite field for the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon, brightening prospect of a mouth-watering head-to-head with three-time Olympic gold medallist Tirunesh Dibaba.

The pair have met twice before. First, at last year’s Ras al Khaimah Hal Marathon when Jepkosgei finished third and the Ethiopian legend was fifth; secondly in May this year at the Manchester 10km in Great Britain when Dibaba got the upper hand with a convincing win—31:08 to 31:57— with the Kenyan runner in second place.

However, according to Hindustan Times, Jepkosgei will come to the ADHM 2018, scheduled for Sunday, in fine form buoyed by a half marathon win over a classy local field in a high-altitude race in her native Kenya last Sunday.

“Delhi Half Marathon is my first-ever trip to India and so I am very much looking forward to visiting and also competing against, Dibaba once again as well as the rest of the field of accomplished and confident women,” said the 24-year-old Jepkosgei. Jepkosgei grabbed international attention in an emphatic way on several occasions during 2017.

She set a world half marathon best of 64:52 in Prague in April last year and improved that mark by one second to 64:51 in the Spanish city of Valencia 12 months ago.

Sandwiched between these two record-breaking half marathon outings, Jepkosgei also became the first woman to run under 30 minutes for 10km on the roads when she he ran a world record of 29:43 on her return to the Czech capital Prague in September 2017.

This year has seen Jepkosgei compete in her first global championship and she returned to Valencia almost five months after her world record in the same city and placed second at the World Half Marathon Championships in March.

Curiously, after her stunning successes of 2017 and despite running a series of fast times in the last nine months, Jepkosgei is still looking for her first international win of 2018 and that will provide her with extra motivation in Delhi.

“I am very excited with the prospect of seeing Joyciline and Tirunesh duel for supremacy in the capital city. Both women are coming here in great shape and an entertaining battle,” said Vivek Singh, joint managing director of race promoters Procam International.

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