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Kenyan Eunice Jeptoo seeks fastest time for Osaka marathon

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 in Dutch.

"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 minutes.

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 prize pack.

"My target is to run a faster race and see what time it will bring.

"I think I can shed off one minute from my best time," she added.

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).

             

 

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