• Setting a new world record in Istanbul was quite a wonderful feeling and my desire is to sustain it by producing similar or better performances in subsequent races," said Chepng'etich.
• Others are world half marathon champion Peres Jepchirchir, 2018 London Marathon winner Vivian Cheruiyot and current champion Brigid Kosgei.
Despite setting a new world marathon record in Istanbul a month ago, world champion Ruth Chepng'etich says she will not rest until she records a similarly superlative performance at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on August 7.
Chepng'etich has been hard at work at her training base in Kericho, working to polish all aspects of her running in readiness for the battle in Sapporo.
"My focus has been on improving on my speedwork to see if I can run even faster times in future races. Setting a new world record in Istanbul was quite a wonderful feeling and my desire is to sustain it by producing similar or better performances in subsequent races. I pray to God that my hard work in training will bear fruits," she said.
Chepng'etich is part of a star-studded female quartet who will be flying Kenya's flag high during the women's marathon in the Japanese Prefecture of Hokkaido.
Others are world half marathon champion Peres Jepchirchir, 2018 London Marathon winner Vivian Cheruiyot and current champion Brigid Kosgei.
Chepng'etich would, however, not be drawn into a conversation about the favourites in the race, instead choosing to pay homage to all the other competitors.
"For now, it is difficult to pinpoint one person as the favourite. I wouldn't even say I am a favourite despite my exploits in Turkey. The Olympics are a once-in-a-lifetime chance for most athletes and so I expect everyone to give their best. For this reason, I expect a tough competition not only amongst us but also other countries, such as Ethiopia," she said.
Chepng'etich was speaking on Thursday afternoon at Athletics Kenya's Riadha House where she was crowned LG/SJAK Sports Personality of the Month for April.
This was after she set a new record of 1:04:02 for the half marathon at Kolay Istanbul Half Marathon early last month to lower Ethiopia's Ababel Yeshaneh mark.
She won the award ahead of, among others, ARC Equator Rally winner Carl 'Flash' Tundo, men's marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge — who won the NN Mission Marathon in Twente, Holland — and Kenya Ports Authority men's volleyball team libero Sam Juma.
Other nominees for the monthly accolades included Kenya rugby sevens' star Daniel Taabu — who scored seven tries for the national team at the recent Emirates Invitational Tournament in Dubai — and Meldine Sande, who skippered the Kenya Prisons women's volleyball to a third-place finish at the CAVB Continental Championships in Tunisia.
For her exploits, Chepng'etich received an LG Artificial Intelligence DD Washing Machine worth Sh92,000.
Speaking at the same function, Barnaba Korir, AK's director of youth development, was bullish Chepng'etich and the rest of the marathon team will extend the country's ruthless streak in road races.
"Their preparations for Tokyo are going on smoothly despite the corona challenges faced. As a federation, we are closely monitoring their training to ensure they have all the resources to prepare well. We expect a minimum of four medals from the entire marathon team, if not all the six medals on offer," he said.