NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Defending champion Ezekiel Chebii of Kenya will put his title up
for grabs during this year’s Lake Biwa marathon in Japan on
Chebii is one of
three men in the field who have posted 2:06:00 times recently.
His 2:06:07 in Amsterdam two years ago still stands as the
fastest in the field, which also has fast runners Tadesse
Abraham (Switzerland) and Abera Kuma (Ethiopia).
Speaking in Nairobi
on Wednesday on his way to Japan, Chebii exuded confidence that
he will triumph for the second year in a row to boost his
chances of making the Kenyan team at the 2019 World
Championships in Doha, Qatar.
“I have a plan to
represent Kenya in Doha, but it has to start soon with win in
Lake Biwa marathon. Then we will see what other races will come
through and hope to carry the momentum. Last year it was tough
to win and I expect the conditions to be even worse with tougher
challenges from the opponents,” he said.
Alongside the trio,
there will also be four Japanese men seeking to steal the show
led by Gold Coast winner Takuya Noguchi, Takuya Fukatsu and
The addition of
sub-61 half-marathoner Kenta Murayama in his second shot at the
marathon after a failed debut in Tokyo two years ago makes for a
formidable quartet of men from 2017 and 2018 New Year Ekiden
national champion Asahi Kasei all aligned in training and
Last year’s fourth
finisher Satoru Sasaki has withdrawn from Sunday’s race after
developing pain in his right knee and foot.
The 2016 Rio de
Janeiro Olympian has a personal best time of 2:08:56 which had
made him the fastest Japanese man in the field.