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Kenya’s Kipkemboi take battle to Ethiopians,
targets golden glory in Seville

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kipsang Kipkemboi of Kenya is confident he will improve his bronze medal to gold when he returns for the Seville Marathon on Sunday in Spain.

Kipkemboi, who missed out on making the Kenya team to the Commonwealth Games, wants to channel his frustration to winning in Seville on his second attempt and improve on his personal best time of 2:08:26, which he recorded last year in finishing third.

“I had high expectations for the Commonwealth Games, but the coaches overlooked me. It is very hard to make Kenya team especially if you have not won in big city marathon. This will be my chance as I start my preparations for the World Championships in 2019,” he said on Friday evening.

“Hopefully I will run fast and win and then use it to go for other races.”

Kipkemboi will be making his appearance alongside compatriot Douglas Chebii, who was fourth in Seville last year and recorded his personal best time of 2:12:32 in Istanbul last November.

There is also Laban Kipkemboi Mutai, holder of the quickest time among the entrants thanks to a 2:08:01 outing in 2012.

However, the 33-year-old will need to improve on his last appearance - a 2:15:01 run in Cape Town - to be in the hunt for victory on Sunday.

“Other record will not count. On paper I am the fastest, but there are dangers from all corners with each athlete keen to seize the chance to win. I will trust my legs and try to put up the pace and see who follows,” said Mutai.

Ethiopians Fikre Assefa, silver medallist from Kosice Marathon in 2:08:36 and Zinash Debebe will be joined by compatriot Tubuja Megersa, who ran 59:53 for the half marathon in 2011.

Spaniards Javier Guerra (2:09:33) and veteran Jesus Espana (2:11:58) will charge for the Spanish honors.

On the women’s side, Sechale Delasa is quickest with 2:26:27 from 2012. Tejitu Siyum (2:33:21) and 2015 world youth 1500m champion Bedatu Hirpa boost a strong Ethiopian line-up.

Kenya’s Josephine Jepkoech lines up with a 1:08:53 half marathon to her name. It will be her first full marathon and she hopes it will end up with a win.

“I have no expectation, but believe the training I have undergone will be enough to secure me a win or a podium spot,” said Jepkoech.

Morocco’s Boulaid Kaoutar, who was runner-up a couple of years ago and 2015 winner Filomena Costa of Portugal, will also challenge.

The course record belongs to Portugal’s Marisa Barros who ran 2:26:03 back in 2009.



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