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Kenya’s Karoki wary of Ethiopian challenge
at World Half marathon in Valencia

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- London marathon bronze medalist Bedan Karoki of Kenya remained confident, he will improve on his silver medal when he competes at the World Half marathon in Valencia, Spain on March 24.

Karoki, who is fresh from winning the Ras al-Khaimah (RAK) Half Marathon in the United Arab Emirates, will face one of the athletes he beat Jemal Yimer from Ethiopia. 

But even with the inclusion of the young Ethiopian, the Kenyan is buoyant, he will be ready for the challenge.

“I was in top form in winning in RAK Half marathon and I believe, I will improve and be better place as we head to Valencia. Ethiopia always has a strong team and this time round they will be out to destroy Kenya’s dominance,” he said on Saturday.

Indeed Kenya reigned supreme in the last championships in Cardiff, Wales when Geoffrey Kamworor won gold followed by Karoki while Britain’s Mo Farah was third.  

Of the three podium candidates, only Farah will be missing in action in Valencia.

Already Kamworor has ruled out going for the world record in Valencia and said he is only keen to win in fast time and Karoki echoed his compatriots sentiments saying, despite a 100,000 U.S. dollar bonus for shattering the course and world record in Valencia, his priority will be to improve his silver medal to gold.

“But we must be wary of the Ethiopians. They always come up with new athletes and they keep the tempo of the race high. We must be in top form to challenge them,” he added.

Ethiopia, has named its fastest man and woman for the 21km distance for this year’s race led by Yimer.

The 21-year-old finished fifth over 10,000m at the World Championships London six months ago and he made an impressive half marathon debut in Ras al-Khaimah earlier this month.

He finished second in 59:00, the fastest time by an Ethiopian runner since 2012 and putting him third on the Ethiopian all-time list.

He will be joined by the top four finishers from the recent Ethiopian Half Marathon Championships: Getaneh Molla, Betesfa Getahun, Dawit Fikadu and Jiksa Tadesse.

Ruti Aga, winner of the Houston Half Marathon earlier this year, leads the women’s team.

The 24-year-old, who finished second at last year’s Berlin Marathon in 2:20:41, won in Houston with a big PB of 1:06:39 to move to fourth on the Ethiopian all-time list.

The top four finishers from the Ethiopian Half Marathon Championships joining Aga on the team are Zeineba Yimer, Meseret Belete, Bekelech Gudeta and Zinash Mekonnen.

Following is the Ethiopian team:

Men - Dawit Fikadu, Betesfa Getahun, Getaneh Molla, Jiksa Tadesse, Jemal Yimer.

Women - Ruti Aga, Meseret Belete, Bekelech Gudeta, Zinash Mekonnen, Zeineba Yimer.



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