• Lack of teamwork was a challenge but due to the handful of Kenyans who backed me throughout, I had to soldier on and I am happy I repaid them with a bronze — Kipruto.
• Desisa’s win broke the 18-year long wait for a marathon gold medal by Ethiopia at the World Championships.
Lack of teamwork by Kenyan runners has been cited as their main undoing during Sunday morning’s marathon race at the World Championships in Doha, Qatar.
Ethiopia’s New York City Marathon champion Lelisa Desisa clocked a season best of 2:10:40 to dethrone Kenya, who were the defending champions, following Geoffrey Kirui’s win at the 2017 edition in London. His compatriot Mosinet Geremew timed 2:10:44 to mine silver ahead of Kenyan debutant Amos Kipruto.
Desisa’s win broke the 18-year long wait for a marathon gold medal by Ethiopia at the World Championships.
Kenya had fronted a rich field of four — Paul Lonyangata, Kirui and Laban Korir but it was Kipruto who kept close tabs with the Ethiopians but was out-sprinted in the final 500m. Kirui finished 13th with a season best of 2:13:54.
Kipruto revealed that his hopes to strike gold at the humid Corniche course were dashed by the Ethiopians who combined and elected to ‘kick’ as a unit leaving him short of breath and energy to match up barely metres to the tape.
“It was my first time to represent the country at this stage and I am elated to have made it to the podium. We began well as the Kenyan team but split at some point. I decided to keep my best foot forward but the Ethiopian duo would plot my downfall whenever I was in the lead,” said Kipruto.
“I would hear them talk behind my back and it was almost impossible to beat them when they decided to kick. Lack of teamwork was a challenge but due to the handful of Kenyans who backed me throughout, I had to soldier on and I am happy I repaid them with a bronze.”
Similarly, Korir regretted the early exit of Lonyangata, which he noted that deprived him of the company.
“The race was tough but things went south the moment Lonyangata withdrew as we were running shoulder to shoulder. We were closing on the gap on Tadese after 20km but after he dropped my pace gradually decreased.”
Meanwhile, after failing to defend his title, Kirui rued the harsh weather for his miss from the podium.
“The climate worked against my plan. I tried my best but my body did not respond as I expected. I return home with lessons and I look forward to start preparing for my next races,” said Kirui.