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Kenya’s Mungara targets marathon win at Commonwealth Games

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- 44-year-old Veteran runner Kenneth Mungara can be seen rubbing his hands with glee here as he makes his debut for Kenya in international competition.

But for a country that has seen its athletes win 80 of the world’s top 100 marathons over the last decade, Mungara’s might have been rightly overlooked by the coaching selection panel.

After all, Mungara, who won the Gold Coast Marathon in 2015 and 2016 before settling for second in last year’s race, is one among many runners eyeing a call up to the national team.

“It is a dream come true, albeit late. I had always wanted to represent my country, but each year, there were better runners ahead of me and no matter what I did, the selectors never looked my way,” said Mungaru.

Indeed, the veteran runner has accrued 15 career marathon wins including the Singapore Marathon in 2010, Toronto Waterfront Marathon in 2008 to 2011 and Mumbai in 2009. 

A return to Gold Coast would have been unlikely having raced three times and winning twice. But he returns with a purpose: to repay the faith that the selectors had in him and reclaim the gold, which Kenya lost in Glasgow 2014 to Australian Michael Shelley.

“The stakes are high for me. Eyes will be on me and the other Kenyans named in the team and contrary to what critics say the team is weak, we will emerge winners,” he said.

Mungara will team up with the 2017 Copenhagen Marathon champion Julius Karinga and seasoned long distance runner Nicholas Kamakya, who won the Gold Coast Marathon in 2011 and finished fourth at 2012 Berlin Marathon.

The Kenya women’s team is equally unknown and will be led by Shelmith Muriuki. Others are Hellen Nzembi and Sheilah Jerotich.

The trio face the hard task to successfully defend Kenya’s gold and silver medals won by Flomena Cheyech and Caroline Kemboi respectively in the 2014 games in Glasgow.


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