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Quest for World Championships inspires
Rono ahead of Toronto marathon

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s Philemon Rono is dreaming of representing Kenya at the 2019 World Championships in Qatar when he lines up to compete at the Toronto marathon on Sunday.

Rono, 27, set a Canadian all-comers’ record of 2:06:52 when he successfully defended his Toronto Marathon title a year ago.

He returns on Sunday in search of a hat trick victories in a bid to seal his spot in the Kenya team to Doha, next year for the World Championships.

“I always want to run for Kenya,” he said on Saturday. “But competitions for tickets to World Championships are stiff and I believe when I win in Toronto, Kenyan selectors will look my way and offer me a chance to live the dream.”



Injury rules two Kenyans out of Delhi Half Marathon

By John Kwoba NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- An ankle injury has forced Berlin Half Marathon champion Eric Kiptanui to withdraw from Delhi Half Marathon on Sunday.

The women’s favorite Kenya’s Caroline Kipkirui has also been forced to pull out citing a foot injury.

Kiptanui, who is the fastest half marathoner in the world this year, recently sustained a slight injury in training and is not back to full fitness.

“It’s a blow to my preparations because I had hoped to continue my big performance,” said Kiptanui on Friday. “I have to bite my time and wait for it to fully heal.”

It is the second race for the Kenyan to skip after he was no show at the Copenhagen Half Marathon last month.

However, Kenya will still have a strong representation in India’s premier road race, which has a winner’s prize set at 27,000 U.S. dollars with a total prize money purse standing at 280,000 dollars.

Kenya will have its hopes on world half marathon record holder Joyciline Jepkosgei, who will take the fight to Olympic champion Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia.

The two women will go head to head for the course record, which has been standing since 2009 and it belongs to Kenya’s Mary Keitany at 1:06.54.

Jepkosgei and Dibaba have met twice before.

Firstly, at last year’s Ras al Khaimah Half Marathon in United Arab Emirates where Jepkosgei finished third and the Ethiopian legend was fifth.

The second time the two clashed was in May at the Manchester 10km in Britain when Dibaba got the upper hand with a convincing win - 31:08 to 31:57 - with the Kenyan runner in second place.

“The Delhi Half Marathon is my first-ever trip to India and so I am very much looking forward to visiting and also competing against, once again, Tirunesh Dibaba as well as the rest of the field of accomplished and confident women,” said Jepkosgei.

Jepkosgei set a world half marathon best of 1:04:52 in Prague in April, 2017 and improved it by one second to 1:04:51 in Valencia.

In Delhi, Jepkosgei and Dibaba, third in Berlin marathon, will face opposition from Ethiopians Ababel Yeshaneh (65:46), Worknesh Degefa (66:14) Zeinaba Yimer (66:21) and Senbere Teferi (debut).

“My training has gone on well. There is nothing much I have changed during my training and I’m looking forward to the race where I want to lower the record, even by a second,” said Jepkosgei.

The men’s field will have Kenyans Alex Korio (58:51) and Daniel Kipchumba (59:06), Ethiopians Leul Gebresilase (59:18) and Feyisa Lilesa (59:22), New Zealand’s Zane Robertson 59:47 and last year’s runner-up Andamlak Belihu from Ethiopia (59:51) and last year’s third-placer Leonard Korir from the United States (59:52).

Olympic 5,000m bronze medalist Hagos Gebrhiwet is sick and will not compete in India.


Ankle injury rules out Chemutai from Valencia Half Marathon

By John Kwoba NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s Fancy Chemutai has confirmed she will not be fit to compete at the Valencia Half marathon in Spain on Oct. 28.

Speaking from Eldoret, Chemutai said an ankle injury she sustained in February on her way to winning the Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) Half Marathon in United Arab Emirates (UAE), is healed but her fitness is still under 50 per cent.

“I cannot run at the top level,” she said on Friday. “I still need a month to get back to top form and then we will see which race to take part in. My management had entered me in the Valencia Half marathon, but I have to say I will not be traveling.”

Chemutai failed to honor Kenya team call to the World Half Marathon in March over the injury and has remained out of competition since.

“I have missed my program because the injury delayed to heal,” she added. “But I have started training and can run about 10km. But soon I will be at my peak form again and I want to go back to Valencia in 2019 and try to break the world record.”

Indeed compatriot Joyciline Jepkosgei took one second off her own world record, which she had set in Prague, the Czech Republic in April 2017, to win the in Valencia clocking 64:51. In UAE, Chemutai, 23, clocked 64.52 to miss the record by one second.

“The injury has put a big challenge in my path and I have to overcome it. I am returning to full training and still hungry to win more titles,” she added.

In her absence in Valencia, Kenya team will be led by Mary Wacera, who is also returning from injury together with Lucy Cheruiyot while Dorcas Tuitoek will be making her debut in the distance. Ethiopia’s challenge will come from Gelete Burka.

In the men’s category, defending champion Kenyan-born Abraham Cheroben of Bahrain will battle it out with other 30 elite athletes, with at least 14 having run in less than an hour. Cheroben is aiming to retain the crown he won last year in 59:11.

Among the elite field is a host of Kenyans led by two times Family Bank Half Marathon champion Jorum Okombo Lumbasi (58:48), Solomon Kirwa Yego (58:44), Mangata Ndiwa (59:09), Abraham Kiptum (59:09) and Josphat Boit (59:19) the pace maker, who guided Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge to break the world marathon record in Berlin. 



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