The composition of Kenya’s marathon team to the IAAF World Championships to be held in London from August 4 to 13 is, to say the least, on point.
I couldn’t agree more with the Athletics Kenya selectors. With Eliud Kipchoge leading the way to the London battle field, we can not only hope for a repeat of the Rio 2016 Olympics, but also a Kenyan sweep in both races at the “Worlds.”
Kipchoge will partner with the 2012 Olympic marathon silver medallist Wilson Kipsang, who won the Tokyo Marathon in February, and the new London Marathon champion Daniel Wanjiru as they try to recapture the men’s title which Abel Kirui last won for Kenya in 2011.
Reigning Boston Marathon champion Geoffrey Kirui and the 2016 Mumbai Marathon champion Gideon Kipketer, who finished second in the Tokyo Marathon, have been picked as reserves in the men’s team.
Like the first three, Kirui and Kipketer are equally capable of pulling surprises just in case of anything.
Two-time world marathon champion Edna Kiplagat tops the Kenyan women’s marathon list.
Kiplagat will be chasing a hat-trick of victory and was to partner with the new world women’s only marathon record holder Mary Keitany and Chicago Marathon champion Florence Kiplagat, but, sadly, Florence and Mary withdrew saying they won’t be in shape by August.
This is understandable as they featured in an extremely fast London Marathon last month which Keitany won in the new world record time of two hours, 17 minutes and one second.
However, Kenya is not short of talent and the reserves, Purity Rionoripo and Agnes Barsosio, who took the first two spots in Paris Marathon in April, are also equal to the task.
Kipchoge remains untouchable after running the fastest time in marathon history (2.00:25) in Italy where he tried to break the two-hour barrier in Nike’s “Breaking2” project.
He is not new in London having run his personal best of 2:03:05 on the same course — missing the world record by eight seconds last year.
After failing to finish the race during the 2015 World Championships in Beijing, Kipsang bounced back to win the Tokyo Marathon in a course record 2:03:58 while Wanjiru, 24, triumphed in the London Marathon on his first attempt in 2:05:49, seven months after winning in Amsterdam.
In the women’s category, Edna won the world titles in 2011 and 2013 and I will not be surprised if she bounces back to complete her hat-trick. She also won the Boston Marathon last month on her debut in 2:21:53.
I simply can’t wait for the London World Championships!