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Paris champ Lonyangata shakes off injury,
sets sights on Singapore Marathon

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Paris Marathon champion Paul Lonyangata is back into action and will showcase his hunger for a win to compensate lost time through injury at the Singapore Marathon on Sunday.

The 2018 and 2017 Paris Marathon winner headlines the entries for the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon this weekend. Around 50,000 runners are registered.

The 25-year-old had started the year with promise, but a late injury in his training forced the former Lisbon Marathon champion to bide his time as he missed out on his debut on United States soil when he pulled out of the Chicago Marathon in October.

But now with his knee injury healed, he is optimistic ahead of his start at the humid and hot Singapore city course where the winner will take home 50,000 U.S. dollars.

“The plan was to compete in Chicago, but I then sustained an injury that has made it hard for me to train. Doctors advised me against putting it under pressure in training so I had to ease off,” said Lonyangata on Wednesday.

“I’m back in training and fit to run. Singapore will be real test, a good idea. I want to go and win,” he added.

Lonyangata says that he sees this race against top opponents as an ideal opportunity to answer his many critics.

To excel on a hot and humid course is not an easy task, but after putting his legs up for the better part of 2018, he will be among the few athletes who will arrive in Singapore with fresh legs and hunger for a win.

Apart from his win in Paris in April, Lonyangata has not competed again on the international scene. With the 2019 World Championships just around the corner, he needs to chalk up wins to boost his resume and force the selectors to give him the nod for the Doha, Qatar competition in October 2019.

“You can’t live off one win. You must build on it and that is what is pushing me, inspiring me to work hard to overcome my challenges to be the best in the sport,” he said.

The Singapore Marathon has maintained the same script since 2002, with Kenyan athletes dominating.

Cosmas Kimutai last year breasted the tape in 2:22:48 to prolong Kenya’s stranglehold on the elite men’s title. The men’s record of 2:11:25 was set by Kimutai’s compatriot Luke Kibet in 2009.

In the women race, Pamela Rotich, 34, won in 2:38:31 edging former champ Rebecca Chesire (2:38:48).

Kenya have now won 10 out of the 16 women’s titles in Singapore, with Salina Kosgei setting the course record of 2:31:55 in 2006.



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