By John Kwoba NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
World silver medallist Helah Kiprop of Kenya has
warned her rivals to expect a bruising battle in her defence of
the Tokyo marathon on Sunday.
Kiprop, who won gold
in her debut in Japan, is tagging along her husband to inspire
her win and build her prospects of making the Kenya team to the
2019 World Championships in Doha, Qatar.
While that quest can
wait for a year, her focus is to retain the title she won last
“I have cleared my
training without any problems. I have pushed my body to the
limit and hopefully, it will repay me with victory in Tokyo.
That is why I’m heading to Tokyo with my husband. Please support
me,” she said on Wednesday in Nairobi.
Joining Kiprop on
the mission will be another Kenyan star and Paris Marathon
champion Purity Rionoripo.
The duo however, are
uncertain of what to expect from track star and two-time Olympic
5,000m champion Ethiopia’s Meseret Defar, who will be making her
debut in the marathon distance after staying out of competition
for almost two years.
Defar is a winner of
two Olympic 5,000m titles, two world 5,000m titles and four
world indoor 3,000m titles and the 34-year-old has spent the
past few years - when not injured or pregnant - making a gradual
transition to the roads.
She has won three
half marathons on U.S. soil and finished second at the 2013
Great North Run in 1:06:09.
With track personal
best times of 8:23.72 for 3,000m, 14:12.88 for 5,000m and
29:59:20 for 10,000m, athletics fans will be keen to see what
Defar manages on her marathon debut.
She will line up
against compatriot Ruti Aga, who finished second at the 2017
Berlin Marathon in bets time of 2:20:41 and won the recent
Houston Half Marathon in 1:06:39.
There is also fellow
Ethiopian Shure Demise, whose 2:20:59 performance at the 2015
Dubai Marathon is the fastest performance ever by an Under-20