•Tanui admitted that Uganda's world 10,000m record holder, Joshua Cheptegei is bound to give Kenyans torrid moments during the race
•Tegla Loroupe set the pace for Kenyan women, winning a hat-trick in 1997, 1998 and 1999
Two-time Moses Tanui is optimistic Team Kenya will extend Kenya's dominance at World Half Marathon Championships tomorrow in Gdynia, Poland.
The event has attracted over 250 athletes from 50 countries competing for six medals (both men and women).
Tanui said Athletics Kenya is fielding a strong team in the event and the fact that it is being handled by former world marathon record holder, Nicholas Makau makes it even more interesting.
“We have a very strong team for the championships and despite formidable opposition, we expect good results," said Tanui. The former World Half Marathon champion was one of the the pioneer winners of the race. He won the 1995 title in 61.06 after Benson Masya had won the inaugural one in 1992.
Tanui admitted that Uganda's world 10,000m record holder, Joshua Cheptegei is bound to give Kenyans torrid moments during the race. “As much as we have a good team, Cheptegei will offer Kenyans a great challenge as he is currently enjoying top form. However, with no pacesetters in the event, It could turn out to be anybody's game,” said two-time Vienna Marathon winner.
Having won 13 men and seven women's titles in the history of the event, Tanui said there are chances that Kenya's dominance in the event will continue.
“As a nation and an athlete, we expect Kenya to maintain the dominance come Saturday in the Polish city. I also urge athletes to embrace team spirit of helping each other,” said Tanui.
Masya won the first title for Kenya in 1992 followed by Tanui in 1995. Shem Kororia (1997), Paul Koech (1998), Paul Tergat(1999 and 2000), Paul Kosgei (2002), Martin Lel (2003) and Paul Korir (2004) were the subsequent winners.The event took a break after 2004 and returned as a bi-annual event in 2010 with Wilson Kiprop emerging top. Geoffrey Kamworor has dominated the last three editions.
Tegla Loroupe set the pace for Kenyan women, winning a hat-trick in 1997, 1998 and 1999. Mary Keitany won in 2009, Florence Kiplagat (2010), Gladys Cherono (2014) and Peres Jepchirchir (2016).
Men: Kibiwott Kandie, Bernard Kipkorir, Bernard Kimeli, Leonard Barsoton and Morris Munene;
Women: Peres Jepchirchir, Brilliant Jepkorir, Joyciline Jepkosgei, Rosemary Wanjiru and Dorcas Kimeli.
Officials: Patrick Makau (head coach), Catherine Ndereba (chaperone), Patrick Kipsang (team manager) and Jonas Tonge (coordinator).