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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Marathon champ Kirui yet to decide on world
title defense, targets Boston success  

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- 2017 marathon world champion Geoffrey Kirui of Kenya says he will wait until April to decide whether he will feature at the 2019 World Championships.

With a change in program seeing the 2019 World Championships coming later in the year than usual, Kirui is unsure if he will defend his crown in Doha, Qatar, or pass it up in order to compete in other lucrative big city marathons.

25-year-old Kirui told Xinhua he is gaining more experience at the marathon distance, and hopes to turn around his fortunes in 2019 and return to the winner’s podium.

“It was a very tough year for me in 2018. I entered two marathons and was unlucky not to win. But it was part of the campaign and I will pick it up again and focus on improving on my performance,” he said on Wednesday in Nyahururu.

In October, Kirui was frustrated as he came in eighth in a race in Chicago, won by Britain’s Mo Farah. But he noted that a good performance in 2019 would stand him in good stead to defend his title at that year’s World Championships.

For now, running in early 2019 in Boston or London will be his focus, as he immerses himself in training.

“I’m ready for the task ahead of me and I’m looking forward to a good season in 2019. I want to be on the podium,” he added.

Kirui won the 2017 Boston Marathon, and said the allure of trying to reclaim that title after narrowly losing out this year is more appealing, adding that he would do everything to see that he finishes the race on top of the leaderboard.

“Boston is a good city to run in. But I want to win the race, because this year it was really hard under the rain and windy conditions. Many people gave up and I struggled to finish second. I hope to do well and see what other plans are up for me,” he added.

           

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