NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya’s Eunice Jeptoo will be the
athlete to beat at the Osaka Women’s Marathon on Sunday.
The Kenyan is the defending champion of the Eindhoven Marathon
in Netherlands and has had three months rest since her victory
"I had high hopes of making it to the Commonwealth Games, but
after I was not considered, I thought running in Osaka will be
good for my program," said Jeptoo on Saturday.
She is the fastest runner from abroad having clocked 2:26:13
in October in her win at the Eindhoven Marathon. In the Dutch
city, Jeptoo improved her lifetime best by more than six
With a fast and flat course in Osaka, Jeptoo is optimistic
she will be able to improve further her time and be able to
attract interest from the Big City marathon, which have higher
"My target is to run a faster race and see what time it will
"I think I can shed off one minute from my best time," she
Jeptoo will however face stiff competition from Ethiopia’s
Fayesa Robi, who recorded 2:27:04 in Barcelona last March, an
improvement of more than five minutes.
The race serves as the 102nd women’s marathon national
championships and one of the Japanese marathon team’s qualifying
races for the 2018 Asian Games.
It’s also part of Japan’s Marathon Grand Championship series,
a group of qualifying races for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic marathon
team trial race.
Other runners from abroad include Germany’s Anja Scherl, who
recorded her personal best of 2:27:50 in the 2016 Hamburg
Marathon and Gladys Tejeda of Peru, whose 2:28:12 was set in the
2015 Rotterdam Marathon.
There is also Izabela Trzaskalska of Poland, who has a
marathon best of 2:29:56.
Tejeda said her goal was the 2:26:48 Peruvian national record
set by Ines Melchor at the 2014 Berlin Marathon.
Japanese athletes are led by Nagoya marathon silver medalist
Yuko Ando (2:21:36), Honami Maeda and Mizuki Matsuda.
Other domestic invited runners include Kaori Yoshida
(2:28:14) and Asami Furuse (2:30:44).