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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 
Kenya’s Kipchoge ready to recapture
London marathon despite Bekele’s entry

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya said here Monday that he is not worried about the introduction of Ethiopian legend Kenenisa Bekele to the London marathon lineup.

The Kenyan, who is eyeing to run a world record time in London, said his focus lies in his own strength and fitness as he builds up his endurance ahead of the marathon in London on April 22.

Kenya’s Dennis Kimetto holds the world record at 2:02:57 from Berlin.

“The London marathon always attracts top-class athletes. [With these] kind of races, you don’t expect to walk in and pick [up] the medals with ease, it’s a fight from the start and irrespective of who will be running alongside me, it will be a hard race to crack,” said Kipchoge.

Bekele confirmed he will join Mo Farah and Kipchoge in the quest for the London marathon title.

However for Kipchoge, he will be out to recapture the title he last won in 2016, after he skipped last year’s event to focus on his failed attempt to become the first man to run the marathon under two hours in Monza, Italy.

Kipchoge, 33, has the greatest marathon pedigree. The Kenyan, two-time London Marathon champion, is widely seen as the greatest marathon runner of his generation.

He had run an unratified marathon time of 2:00:25 in Monza, Italy and is the reigning Olympic champion.

“This is a truly mouth-watering prospect. Mo Farah, Kipchoge and Kenenisa are arguably the greatest of all time and they will be here,” said Event Director Hugh Brasher.

Bekele finished third in 2016 (2:06:36), and was second last year (2:05:57) behind winner Daniel Wanjiru of Kenya, who is also returning to London to defend his crown.

“I am thrilled to be returning to London for the third year in a row and would love to go one better than last year and win the race. It will be an honour to race alongside Farah and Kipchoge as well as the other great athletes in the field,” said Bekele.

The London Marathon is also the conclusion of the World Marathon Majors Series XI which started at last year’s London Marathon and includes the major marathons of Berlin, Chicago, New York, Tokyo and Boston, as well as the 2017 World Championships marathon.

Kipchoge is currently joint top of the series standings thanks to his win in the Berlin Marathon last September.

           

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