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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 
Kenya’s Kipsang seeks fast time in title defense at Tokyo Marathon

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s Wilson Kipsang has warned he is focused on winning the Tokyo Marathon with fast time on Feb. 25.

Kipsang, a former world record holder, said on Friday he is confident to retain his title and improve on the course record he set in his victory last year. Tokyo Marathon organizers have moved to have the race run on flatter course.

“Don’t be surprised if the world record went down in Tokyo. I have my eyes on the target. Winning Tokyo Marathon in a flying fast time,” he said.

Kipsang, who is training in Eldoret, set his then world record of 2:03:23 at the 2013 Berlin Marathon but his mark was shattered by compatriot Dennis Kipruto Kimetto, who lowered it to 2:02:57 in the same race in 2014.

Last year, Kipsang, a bronze medalist in the 2012 London Olympics, missed out on the world record but ran the fastest time ever on Japanese soil to win the Tokyo Marathon in two hours, three minutes and 58 seconds.

Kipsang is one of the most accomplished marathon runners from Kenya and holds a best time of 2:03:13, which he attained in 2016 in Berlin.

After his win in Tokyo last year, Kipsang dropped out of the Berlin Marathon, but recovered to finish second at the New York Marathon.

Kipsang’s main competition is Tesfaye Abera from Ethiopia whose best time is 2:04:24. There is also Feyisa Lilesa, the Olympic marathon silver medalist and Dickson Chumba.

In the women’s race, Helah Kiprop and Purity Rionoripo will face stiff challenges from Ethiopians Shure Demise, Ruti Aga and Birhane Dibaba while Anna Hahner (Germany) and Amy Cragg (USA) are also in the lineup.

           

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