NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya’s Florence Kiplagat dream of winning the
Kolkata 25km road race in 2017 were dashed by injury, but she
returns to the Indian city in top form and keen to wrest the
Speaking in Nairobi
on Tuesday, Kiplagat, 31, says the muscle injury, which she
picked up during the Bogota Half Marathon in 2017, ruined her
plans and she had to sit out of competition for one year.
competition was six weeks ago at the Chicago Marathon, where she
finished fourth clocking two hours, 26 minutes and eight
But she hopes her
rusty form has been polished as she focuses on winning her first
race in 2019 in Kolkata.
Though this will be
the first time Kiplagat will be running in Kolkata, it will be
the third time in the country after she twice won the Delhi Half
“I believe I’m the
best in the line-up and I will be going for the top prize. If
anyone had doubts about my fitness, my performance in Chicago in
October vindicated me. I have my eyes on the prize to win in
Kolkata,” said Kiplagat Tuesday in Nairobi.
Twelve months ago,
Kiplagat was signed up and intending to compete in the race but
was injured shortly before in the Chicago Marathon and was not
fit enough to be on the start line in Kolkata. But she if
focused on exorcising that ghost and win on return to India.
“As usual I will not
be looking at those who will be at the race but at my own
strength and fitness because I always enter the race believing I
am the best,” she says.
Kiplagat will be up
against Ethiopia’s Degitu Azimeraw, who will be putting her
title on the line. Azimeraw last year set a surprise course
record of 1:26:01 in the only IAAF Label race in the 25km
says apart from running in Kolkata and another early marathon in
2019, she has no plans for the World Championships in October
2019 in Doha, Qatar.
“I know there is the
World Championships, but what is important for me is to return
to the winner’s podium and set up a few wins before thinking of
the global competition. Kenya has many runners and if I will be
called upon, then we will discuss it then,” she adds.
In the men’s race,
another Kenyan Eric Kiptanui will also be returning to action
after missing three months of training due to an ankle injury.
The Kenyan was to
compete in Delhi in October and Copenhagen in September, but had
to shelve those plans.
“It was a blow to my
preparations because I had hoped to continue my big
performance,” said Kiptanui.
“I have taken time
out to treat the injury and it has responded well. Now it has
healed and I am ready to pick up from where I left off,” he
Kiptanui will be up
against Ethiopia’s Birhanu Legese, Tanzanian marathon record
holder Augustino Sulle, who was third in this race last year.