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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 
Champion Kiptum Aims to Win Abu Dhabi Marathon 

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- World half marathon record holder Abraham Kiptum of Kenya has shelved plans to compete at the Xiamen International Marathon in China and instead will compete at the Abu Dhabi Marathon on Dec. 7.

Kiptum, who is also the Daegu Marathon champion, had wanted to race in Xiamen, a southeastern province of Fujian in China in January, but his management has confirmed that he will be running earlier in Abu Dhabi just one month after breaking the world record in half marathon in Valencia.

Kiptum broke the men’s world record clocking 58:18 to take five seconds off the mark set by Eritrea’s Zersenay Tadese in 2010.

Now he hopes his top form will be enough to help him secure his second marathon title this year and in fast time.

Valencia is also the city where Kenya’s Joyciline Jepkosgei broke the women’s world record in 2017.

“I would like to reach the midway in 1:02:30 and finish under 2:05,” he said of his plans for that race on Sunday.

“I know the good shape my body is enjoying at the moment is optimum because I set a best time last month in Copenhagen but I was eager to run in Valencia.

“It has one of the flattest circuits I have ever run and I was confident of improving on my best. But to set the world record has exalted me.”

Indeed Kiptum will be a man under pressure in Abu Dhabi as he targets to force his way to the winner’s podium and in doing so, convince the selectors he is ripe for the Kenya team to next year’s World Championships in Doha, Qatar.

“The next target will be to run in World Championships. But that is not up to me to decide.

“I want to do my job and let the selectors have tough time to leave me out of the Kenya team,” he added.

Kiptum will now focus on training in November as he seeks to conquer the Abu Dhabi course.

“I have already resumed training and my body is showing no signs of fatigue or slowing down.

“I was only competing in Valencia to improve on my time. Right now, I can say I am focused and working hard for my next race,” added Kiptum. 

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