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Kenyan Janet Ronoh aiming to win Berlin Marathon on Sunday

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s Janet Ronoh is ready to take over from where her mentor Gladys Cherono left last year as she goes for the gold medal at the Berlin marathon on Sunday.

Ronoh, who has won multiple marathons including the 2011 Hong Kong Marathon, 2013 Cologne Marathon and 2014 Ljubljana Marathon, holds a personal best of 2:26:03 and on paper is not the likeliest candidate to win in Berlin.

Ethiopia’s Aberu Kebede leads the favorites having twice won in Berlin (2010, 2012) before finishing second last year behind Kenya’s Gladys Cherono.

"I have no doubt of my ability and in every race, it is about strategy and focus.

"I have done well in training and hopefully, I will have the last say in Berlin against such a strong group of challengers from Ethiopia," she said on Friday in Nairobi.

While Cherono has shifted focus from Berlin title defence to New York race in November, Ronoh knows it is down to her to hoist high the Kenyan flag and will not seek a second invitation to deliver the title in the German capital.

"I know my ability and my training has gone well.

"Now let see what the Ethiopians have," she said.

But she must be worried of the form that Kebede holds.

The Ethiopian is looking to secure her third victory in the Berlin Marathon on Sunday and break the 2:20-barrier for the first time in the process.

"I have trained well and hope that this time I will finally break the 2:20 barrier," said Kebede, whose lifetime best of 2:20:30 dates back to the 2012 Berlin Marathon.

She finished second last year in 2:20:48 behind Cherono.

One of her main rivals will be team-mate and former Tokyo Marathon winner Birhane Dibaba.

"I know about the fast course and the great support from the spectators.

"Additionally I have heard that the weather is favorable in Berlin," she said.

In the men’s side former winner Wilson Kipsang will be back in Berlin seeking his second win and probably another world record run.

In 2013, he won in Berlin in a world record time of 2:03.23 but that mark was alter lowered by countryman Dennis Kimetto, who set the current world record of two hours 2:57 minutes in 2014, shaving 26 seconds off Kipsang’s previous record.

There will also be Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele, the world record-holder over 5,000 and 10,000m, who finished third at the London marathon in April.

In that race, Kipsang had to settle for fifth spot.

"My focus will be to run my personal best and even break the world record," said Kipsang before flying to Germany.

The race—expected to take place in warm sunshine—has attracted several other athletes capable of attacking the world record, including the Kenyan trio of Vincent Kipruto, Eliud Kiptanui and Evans Chebet.


Injury rules out former champ Kimetto from Chicago marathon

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- World Marathon record holder Dennis Kimetto of Kenya has pulled out of the Chicago Marathon citing an ankle injury.

Kimetto, 33, had hoped to make his comeback after staying out for almost a year with nagging injuries.

"I am disappointed that I will not be running in Chicago.

"I wanted to reclaim my title and probably run a faster time.

"But it has to be like this and I’m a professional. I accept and will listen to my body.

"I will overcome it soon and return to competitive running," he said Friday from Eldoret.

Last week, speaking in Eldoret, Kimetto had expressed satisfaction with his training and said he was ready to make another attempt at his world record of 2:02.57 seconds.

"After setting the world record in Berlin, I have not done well in full marathons but I am glad that my body is now responding very well in training.

"I am raring to go," he said.

"I want to run a faster time in Chicago and see if I can take the course record," he added.

Kimetto set the Chicago record in 2:03:45, and set the world record the next year in Berlin in 2:02:57.

But he has struggled ever since, and did not even finish at the World Marathon championships in Beijing last year.

He said he wanted Chicago to be the setting for his big comeback.

The Chicago Marathon course record holder sites a stress fracture in his left leg as the reason for his withdraw.

Fellow Kenyan Sammy Ndungu, last year’s third-place finisher in Chicago, has also withdrawn along with American Nick Arciniaga, while Kenyan Paul Lonyangata has been added to the men’s field.

The women’s field has also seen some changes.

Ethiopian Yebrgual Melese, who finished second in last year’s race, has been added to the field, as has Ethiopian Meskerem Assefa. Also on the field are Kenyans Purity Rionoripio and Visiline Jepkesho.

The Chicago marathon race, which is part of the World Marathon Majors, will take place on Oct. 9.



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