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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Kenya’s Kipyego leads quest for Prague
Marathon, faces Chicago champ Rupp       

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s Barselius Kipyego and Ethiopia’s Sisay Lemma are relishing the challenge to stop Olympic bronze medallist Galen Rupp in Sunday’s Prague International Marathon.

Lemma (2:04:08) was beaten by Rupp in the Chicago Marathon last year and will be seeking revenge in the Czech Capital while Kipyego, who clocked a fast 59:14 at the Usti Nad Labem Half Marathon is set to improve his marathon personal best time of 2:13:06.

“My training has been good. I was disappointed with the performance at the World Half Marathon in Valencia, where I finished in position 15. But I have changed my training and feel fit enough to challenge for the medals in Prague,” said Kipyego on Saturday.

The trio is targeting a course record in Prague. The current mark of 2:08:52 was set in 1998 by Kenya Elijah Lagat.

“I’m in the best shape of my life,” Galen Rupp said on Saturday. “I have done a lot of great training in the last few months and I’m looking forward to the race.”

Bazu Worku will also be highly motivated when he takes to the start line on Sunday after finishing second in Prague last year. Earlier this year the Ethiopian won the Houston Marathon in 2:08:30, his fastest time in three years.

Amane Gobena is the fastest in the women’s field. With a fast time of 2:21:51 at the 2016 Tokyo Marathon, she won the Mumbai Marathon earlier this year in 2:25:49.

Compatriot Meseret Mengistu has won five of her seven most recent marathons, including the 2017 Xiamen Marathon, the 2016 Beijing Marathon and the 2015 Paris Marathon. More recently, though, she finished third in Xiamen in January in 2:30:15.

Another Kenyan Flomena Chepchirchir has a fast time of 2:23:00 with team mate Risper Jebet eyeing to improve her time of 2:27:23 while there is also European half marathon champion Sara Moreira of Portugal.

           

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