NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya has entered 16 men and 11 women in the
Copenhagen Half Marathon, which will be run in the Danish
Capital on Sept. 16.
There will also be
an additional three pace setters as focus turn from track
competition to the road racing campaign.
The Copenhagen Half
Marathon is a Gold Label race ranked by the athletics world
governing body IAAF. Leading the Kenyan charges will be reigning
champion Abraham Cheroben, a Kenyan who represents Bahrain.
“It has always been
hard to win at this level of competition. There is always
somebody new coming in trying to raffle the feathers and I must
be on the lookout if I want to retain my title,” said Cheroben,
who trains in Iten in northwest Kenya.
No fewer than 17
athletes with career bests under the one hour-mark will be on
the starting line-up in the men’s race.
The line-up includes
reigning champion Abraham Cheroben (58:40) from Bahrain and
Kenyans Jorum Okombo (58:48) and Alex Korio (58:51) who were
second and third behind Cheroben last year.
“We train well with
Cheroben, but that will not mean that I will not take the
challenge to him. He is a stronger athlete, but I have done well
in training and believe, I can outshine him in Copenhagen,”
Korio said on Friday in Eldoret.
Kiptanui, the joint world leader with 58:42, is also in the
line-up along with former London Marathon winner Daniel Wanjiru
(59:20), Olympic marathon bronze medalist Galen Rupp (59:47) and
Ethiopians Lelisa Desisa (59:30) and Shura Kitata (60:10).
Wanjiru is using the
race in Copenhagen to gauge his preparedness ahead of his
running at the New York Marathon on Nov. 4.
“I’m ready for the
test in Copenhagen. I have already confirmed my participation
for the New York Marathon in November. Training is going on
well, getting ready to make my debut in New York. But first I
have to see where I rank in half marathon in Denmark,” said
Championships 3,000m winner Yomif Kejelcha is also due to make
his half marathon debut.
The women’s race
features 18 athletes with sub-70 minutes personal best time
including Kenyans Joan Chelimo (65:04), Edith Chelimo (65:52),
Ruth Chepngetich (66:19) and reigning world half marathon
champion Netsanet Gudeta from Ethiopia (66:11).
names in the field include USA’s Jordan Hasay (67:55) and
Ethiopia’s Gelete Burka (68:18).
Dutch long distance
runner Sifan Hassan is also due to make her half marathon debut.
Hassan will end her track season on Friday running at the
Diamond League in Brussels.