•The fourth-fastest female marathoner has set her sights on breaking the world marathon record currently held by her Team Kenya teammate Brigid Kosgei.
•As part of her preparations for the quadrennial bonanza, she will be competing at April's Istanbul Half Marathon where she could run against world half marathon champion Jepchirchir.
World marathon champion Ruth Chepng'etich believes lack of foreign fans at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics will affect many athletes' performances.
On Tuesday, Kyodo News Agency reported that the organisers are planning to lock out foreign supporters from the Games due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, leaving many to ponder what this will mean for the global show.
Chepng'etich said the presence of fans, especially Kenyans, is an added impetus for her — as well as other Kenyan athletes — especially when the going gets tough in the road races.
"Many times, your legs are weak and tired and that's when the fans come in. There are many races in which the sound of fans cheering me on and screaming my name has fueled me to give my all and repay them by crossing the finish line first. With the ban on foreign fans at Tokyo, am afraid that performances will be slightly impacted especially at vulnerable moments," Chepng'etich said.
Chepng'etich hopes that training in solitude at her Ngong' base will however give her a psychological edge when she hits the Tokyo roads alongside other marathoners during July 23-August 8 event.
"I have been training exclusively in Ngong' rather than my home area in Kericho due to the Covid restrictions and the need for quarantine. Regardless, I have put in a lot of work with a focus on securing an Olympic gold medal to add to my world marathon champion collection," she said.
The fourth-fastest female marathoner has set her sights on breaking the world marathon record currently held by her Team Kenya teammate Brigid Kosgei.
However, she concedes this will not be a walk in the park considering Kosgei has severally expressed her desire to reduce her record to 2:13.00.
"The competition will not be easy; I am not expecting it to be considering the prestige that comes with competing in the Olympics. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for which all athletes have been preparing for many years. Therefore, I expect a tough competition not only from my able compatriots but also from other nations because every one will give their all," she said.
Despite this sobering assessment, Chepng'etich is still bullish that the Kenyan quartet of Peres Jepchirchir, Vivian Cheruiyot, Kosgei and her can produce a 1-2-3-4 finish in Tokyo.
"All of us in the team are strong individual runners. Since the marathon team was named, we have not talked to one another. Nonetheless, I am sure of a podium finish if we work together in developing a watertight strategy and implementing it," the 2019 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon champion said.
As part of her preparations for the quadrennial bonanza, she will be competing at April's Istanbul Half Marathon where she could run against world half marathon champion Jepchirchir.
During the coronavirus pandemic, she has been rearing chickens and vegetables at a garden in her Ngong' home.