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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Kenyans aim to dominate both Nairobi and London Championships

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Hosting the 2017 World Youth Championships in Nairobi makes it the most important event in the calendar of Kenyans, though the athletes would still treasure winning gold at the London World Championships.

However, the season will have no room for rest as athletes jump to the busy end starting with a series of cross country meetings in Europe and Africa that will culminate to the World Cross Country in Kampala on March 26.

"We must plan well," said head coach Julius Kirwa from Eldoret.

"The season has some of the most important events in an athlete’ s calendar.

"The London World championships is the biggest, but to host an event at home bringing in over 1,000 international athletes is as equally important."

Kenya is planning to spend over 200 million U.S. dollars to host the crucial IAAF World Under-18 Championships (known as World Youth Chamnpionships) in July in Nairobi.

It will be the last event as it will be scrapped off starting 2018.

The championships will be very important to the country which will be the second major event to be staged in Kenya after the 2007 IAAF World Cross Country held in Mombasa.

Already Britain has withdrawn its athletes from taking part in Kenya opting instead to focus on the Commonwealth Youth Games in Nassau, Bahamas almost the same time the Nairobi event will be happening.

However, Kenya has pledged to select two teams for the two events.

Athletics Kenya President Jack Tuwei said Kenya will compete in both competitions.

"We have a big pool of athletes to draw from and they will get their chance.

"We will have two teams and I regret the decision by Britain to skip the World Youth Championships in Nairobi," he said.

The real athletics action will start in March for the IAAF World cross country championships set for Kampala in Uganda.

Kenya claimed individual titles in the senior categories through world half marathon champion Geoffrey Kamworor and Agnes Tirop when the event was last held in Guiyang, China in 2015 while Ethiopia won the junior cadre.
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UPDATE:

Kenyan Abel Kirui seeks legendary status in quest for London conquest

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Lack of form and career threatening injury derailed Kenya’s Chicago Marathon champion Abel Kirui’s bid to become the first man to win three World marathon championships.

However, for a man who is on the cusp of his last major competition at the London World Championships, winning a record third title is the biggest inspiration he has ahead of the season that will see him compete at the London marathon in April to cement his place in the Kenya team.

"I have to prove my critics wrong.

"A fast time in London is inevitable and with the good form I enjoy at the moment, it will not be a hard shot," he said Tuesday from Eldoret.

The two-time IAAF world marathon champion says that at the age of 34, he is on his last lap and is not seeing himself competing for the country beyond 2017.

"I want to secure that important hat-trick in London.

"It will be so crucial but as usual in Kenya to get selected is hardest part and it is within my strides to prove to the coaches that I am the best bet to carry the country flag in London in August," he added.

Kirui achieved back-to-back wins at the 2009 and 2011 world championships in Berlin and Daegu before a hamstring injury deflected his ambitious cruise.

He has now gone back to his camp in Kaptagat to start his training in a bid to enter the Team Kenya.

"I have already started my preparations for the IAAF World championships in London and I am optimistic that I will make the cut in marathon for the competition," Kirui said.

"First I want to run in London marathon in April to get good time.

"This will enable me enter into the team for marathon where I will be seeking my third title in the world championships."

He represented Kenya at the 2012 Olympics in London getting a silver medal after Uganda’ s Stephen Kiprotich stole the show in the last kilometres to win gold.

Kenya’ s Eliud Kipchoge has since reclaimed the title from the Ugandan at the Rio Olympics and is a major prospect for the London World Championships in August.

"I didn’ t make the Rio Olympics team because of injury. It has since healed and I have proved my fitness in winning in Chicago last October.

"It was a tough battle and I expect the same in London in April," he said.

With a personal best time of 2:05:04 set at the 2009 Rotterdam Marathon, Kirui knows it will count for nothing as there are faster runners in the country.

 

             

 

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