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Cheromei, Agai to battle for women’s title at Shanghai Marathon

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s veteran road racer Lydia Cheromei is hopeful her return to the Shanghai International Marathon on November 18 might see her strike gold.

The 41-year-old had to settle for silver last year, but started 2018 on a high note, winning in Rabat in a time of 2:28:48.

Two weeks ago, she was seventh in the Lisbon half marathon. Now she has returned home to Eldoret to continue her training before heading to China.

“I loved the fans and the challenge I received in Shanghai last year,” said Cheromei. “On returning to China I want to win like I did at the 2017 Lanzhou Marathon. I know the caliber of opposition in Shanghai will be tough, but that is what inspires me.”

Cheromei will be up against former Commonwealth Games marathon champion Flomena Cheyech, who has shaken off a foot injury and is back in contention.

“I have been out of competition for a long time because of the injury I picked up in Japan. But it has since healed and I am back in competition. Shanghai is the next stop for me in November, and hopefully I will be able to run well and win gold,” said Cheyech.

Another Kenyan to feature in the women’s race will be Margaret Agai, who finished fifth in Shanghai last year in a time of 2:25:29.

This year, Agai won the Seoul Dong-A International Marathon in South Korea and the Maputo Half Marathon in Mozambique.

Elsewhere, competitors in Shanghai from Ethiopia are likely to include last year’s runner-up Hirut Tibebu Damte and Gulume Tollesa Chala.

“The preparations for the race this year are different because I’m targeting a fast time and the chance to prove my credentials to the Kenyan selectors ahead of the World Championships, which will be in Doha, Qatar in October 2019,” said Agai.

In the men’s race, Kenya’s Dennis Kimetto will be out to prove he is over a career-threatening knee injury which has seen him fail to win since his second place finish at the 2016 London Marathon.

Kimetto will be up against defending Shanghai champion Stephen Mokoka of South Africa, with the Kenyan pair of Ernest Ngeno and Asbel Kipsang to be other athletes to watch.

22-year-old Ngeno - a former winner in Hengshui, Dongying and Milan, with a personal best time of 2:07:49 clocked in Gyeongju last October - was the 2017 Shanghai runner-up with a time of 2:08:38.

 

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