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Kipsang and Kiplagat focus on New York despite running in Berlin last month

Defending champion Geoffrey Kamworor leads a host of stars to next month’s New York Marathon.

Kamworor, who is the three-time World Half Marathon champion, will face stiff competition from several of his compatriots in the 42km race during the ‘Big Apple’ race.

Kamworor clocked 2:10:53 to win the event last year.

The defending champion will be up against former winner and world record holder Wilson Kipsang, who competed at last month’s Berlin Marathon, finishing third in 2:06:48.

The 2017 London Marathon champion, Daniel Wanjiru, will also be in the mix.

Wanjiru has a personal best of 2:05:21 set at the Amsterdam Marathon two years ago and will fancy his chances of performing well at the event.

Former New York City Marathon champion Stanley Biwott will also be seeking to reclaim the crown he won in 2015 in 2:10:34 while Stephen Sambu, who clinched the New York City Half Marathon in 2016 in 1:01:16, has also been entered.

In the women’s category, two- time world marathon champion Edna Kiplagat, who finished fourth at the Berlin three weeks ago in 2:21:18, aims to unseat last year’s champion Sharlene Flanagan of the USA.

London Marathon champion Vivian Cheruiyot will also be seeking to win her second marathon crown after her exploit in the British capital in April.

Mary Keitany will be chasing her fourth New York City Marathon crown after victories in 2014-2016.

Keitany is one the country’s most decorated marathoners with wins in other big city marathons including London, where she has won three times (2011, 2012 and 2016).

US-based Sally Kipyego made her marathon debut in 2016 in New York, finishing second to Keitany in 2:28.01 and will be aiming to go one place better.

Wilson Kipsang tells Sports Kenya to complete Kamariny Stadium

Delay in completion of Kamariny Stadium has dealt a blow to glorious performances among Iten-based runners, Wilson Kipsang has said.

The former world marathon champion said Kamariny Stadium was the only public training facility for Iten-based runners.

Kipsang said runners training in the high altitude training base have been forced to travel to Tambach and Eldoret daily for training.

“Many athletes can’t afford Sh100 to travel to Tambach or Sh200 to travel to Eldoret on a daily basis. Many of them are young athletes struggling to make ends meet and make a name in the athletics world and they have given up,” Kipsang said.

The two-time Frankfurt and London Marathon champion said athletics fortunes have significantly dwindled in the two years Kamariny Stadium has been under construction.

Construction of the Sh257 million facility that was used by athletes from mostly North Rift counties, started in 2016 and was to be completed in October 2017.

Athletes have resorted to training on the roads, often causing traffic jams and risk being knocked down by motorists and motorcyclists.

“If you do a research on athletics performances in Nandi, Uasin Gishu and Elgeyo Marakwet counties today, you will agree that athletes have no training base,” Kipsang said, urging Sports Kenya to speed up the project. A section of athletes travel to University of Eldoret and Moi University Annex grounds in Eldoret, since High Altitude training stadium owned by Lornah Kiplagat is a private stadium and athletes pay to use the facility.

Elgeyo Marakwet Sports executive Anita Kimwatan said the county government is constructing an alternative training ground in Kiptingo near Kamariny.

Kimwatan said the murram track in Kiptungo will have changing rooms and will save the over 2,000 athletes training in Iten the costs of traveling long distances.

“Kamariny is iconic. It was to be completed in six months. It is unfortunate that it not complete,” she said.

But Kipsang said construction of the alternative training ground has also been dragging for many months. Sports PS Peter Kaberia toured the stadium in January and promised the project would be completed before end of April this year.

Kipsang eyes Berlin

Former world marathon record holder Wilson Kipsang is currently doing at least 40km a day in readiness for the next month’s Berlin Marathon.

The two-time London marathon champion said the mileage in training is to ensure he is fit for Berlin race. He said he is currently enjoying top form and cannot rule out a course record if not a world record currently held by his training-mate at Volare Sports, Dennis Kimetto.
Kimetto broke Kipsang’s world record of 2:03.23 in 2014 after winning the race in 2:02.57 ahead of his training-mate Emmanuel Mutai.

“I am trying my best to be fit enough to take on the world champions at Berlin. I am currently undergoing intense training to ensure I achieve my target of the best time possible,” said the 2012 Olympic Games marathon silver medallist.
In 2016, Kipsang finished second behind Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele, who was named in the provisional starting list but later pulled out of Berlin.

“I ran a good race in 2013 and I want to emulate that and come home a better man. My target is to come with a world record if possible depending on the weather and my shape on the day,” added Kipsang, who is also the 2014 New York City Marathon champion.
Last year, Kipsang failed to win New York City Marathon, finishing second to three-time World Half Marathon champion Geoffrey Kamworor.

“I miscalculated my timing in New York and Kamworor was on point, which was good for us as Team Kenya. It was good for Kamworor to win his maiden title on the course,” added former world marathon record holder. Owing to a bad weather in Japan, Kipsang fell to Dickson Chumba, failing to defend his title early this year.

“This year in Tokyo, It was too hot for me and I failed to run the way I had planned. Being the defending champion, you have a lot of burden since everyone is looking upon you but luckily, just like in New York, a Kenyan won the title, which was a great deal,” added Kipsang.

Kipkurui, Chelimo bag titles at Kisii Marathon

Nicodemus Kipkurui and Joan Chelimo are the winners of the 9th edition of the Safaricom Kisii Half Marathon.

Running in cold and wet conditions, Kipkurui clocked 62:39 minutes to win the men’s race while Chelimo crossed the finishing line in 72:25 to win the women’s edition as the event live up to it’s reputation of producing new winners every year.
The 24 year old father of one who trains in Iten took charge of the race at Getare on the Kisii-Chemosit road with five kilometres to the end and never looked back, relegating early leaders Nobert Kigen and Emmanuel Bor to second and third places.
“I tried to urge them on because when you run as a group, it’s easier but when I saw that they are not willing, I decided to go for it. I’m happy I won the race,” Kipkurui said.
While dedicating the win to his wife Scholar Chemutai, Kipkurui added: “The course was good and the weather perfect which is similar to where I train.”
Kigen finished second in 62:56 while Bor was third clocking 63:13. Kipkorir Birir returned home fourth in 63:16 with Edwin Mokua taking the title of the first local runner to cross the finishing line in fifth place. Mokua clocked 63:19 ahead of Bernard Ngeno ( 63:19 ) while race favourite Sammy Nyokaye finished a distant seventh in 63:26.
“Last year, I finished second but I’m unhappy with my performance here. However, I will not rest but continue to train hard,” said Mokua. was sixth while Last year’s winner Joseph Koech pulled out midway through the race after suffering a stitch.
Chelimo winner of Prague half Marathon in April triumphed in the women’s category after clocking 72:25 minutes, followed by Joy Kemuma ( 72:35 ) while Lydia Njeri was third crossing the finishing line in 73:50.
Chelimo, the fourth fastest woman in half marathon said: “I’m happy for the win despite running in a hilly course. I enjoyed running in Kisii for the first time.”
She dedicated the win to her husband Jullan de Maria and daughter Arriana Kechei. “The two have supported me throughout my athletics career,” she said.
Experienced marathoner Georgina Rono settled for fourth in 73:52 as Risper Chebet came home fifth in 73:59. Another veteran runner, Caroline Kilel, was relegated to sixth in 74:69.
Last year’s winner Philes Ongori finished 15th. She said she was using the event to prepare for Rochelle marathon in France on November 25.
Winners in each category received Sh100, 000 with runners up getting Sh50, 000 and third placed athletes Sh30, 000. Top three finishers in the masters and children’s events also received cash awards. The race started and finished at Kisii Primary. It took the athletes to Omogonchoro in Nyamira County then back to Kisii County.

Ongori, Koech to defend their titles at Kisii Half Marathon

Philes Ongori and Joseph Koech will defend the annual Safaricom Kisii Half Marathon slated for today.

Other notable names expected are former champion Grace Momanyi, Teresa Omosa and Mully Half Marathon champion Sammy Nyokaye.
“Preparations for this year’s race are in top gear and we are hoping to have a good turn out. This marathon has grown over the years and has given local athletes a platform to discover their talent,” said Peter Angwenyi, Athletics Kenya, South Nyanza chairperson.
The winners will walk away with Sh100,000 each while the first runners up will receive Sh50,000 with third place finishers getting get Sh30,000.
“Over the years, the marathon has produced international athletes like Wesley Ochoro, Ruth Bosibori, Grace Momanyi and Edwin Mokua among others. This is why we take pride in associating ourselves with this marathon and hope to see more athletes being discovered,” said Charles Kare, acting director, Consumer Business, Safaricom.

Over 400 athletes are expected for the event. Safaricom has donated Sh1 million towards sponsorship of the event which is part of this year’s Safaricom Athletics Series.

Mary Keitany asks managers and coaches to help end doping

World women marathon record holder Mary Keitany has pleaded with athletics coaches and managers to help stamp out doping among Kenyan runners.

Keitany’s call comes amid recent reports by the Athletics Integrity Unit indicating that they are handling 120 doping cases.

The AIU crackdown is aimed at protecting the sport’s reputation and transparency.

“I am telling our coaches and managers to please help fight doping. Our country risks being banned if this vice continues,” Keitany said.

The 2016 New York City Marathon champion called for close monitoring of chemists and pharmacies and action taken on drug outlets that are found selling banned substances.

She said doping allegations among Kenyan athletes is getting worse and asked the Anti-doping Agency (ADAK) to intensify awareness campaign among young runners. Keitany claimed Adak has been creating awareness among elite athletes in five star hotels, leaving out newcomers in anti-doping sensitization campaigns.

“There are some unscrupulous medical doctors who have positioned themselves in training bases and they target young athletes in the pretext that they would run faster,” she said in an interview in Iten. She added: “We are aware that after using EPO, an athlete will run for one year and after that, their careers come to a halt because of the side effects.”

Some 85 of the cases, according to the AIU report, involve Olympic and World Championships medallists, with 47.5 per cent involving Russians.

Elgeyo Marakwet Governor Alex Tolgos accused managers and coaches of introducing banned drugs to athletes to boost performance in a bid to attract more monetary returns. Tolgos said his county administration will carry out thorough audit of drugs dispensed in pharmacies and revoke licenses of pharmacists selling EPO.

“Some managers want to use athletes as running machines for selfish commercial purposes. I will personally oversee the revoking of licenses,” Tolgos said. “Some few athletes who are engaging in doping are out to tarnish the images of over 2,000 athletes training in Iten,” he added

Nigeria ready to host Africa senior championships

Delta State in Nigeria is ready to host the 21st African Senior Championships, organisers have reported.

Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) technical director, Vivian Gungaram, expressed satisfaction with the level of preparedness of the country host the event.

Over 60 Kenyan athletes are expected to take part in the Championships to be staged in Asaba, from August 1 to 5.
Kenya was ranked second overall on the medal chart in the last edition of the championships two years ago in Durban, South Africa.
The country bagged eight gold, eight silver and eight bronze medals. Host South Africa reigned supreme with 33 medals, while Nigeria were third with 16 medals.

After inspecting the Stephen Keshi stadium where the competitions will be staged, Gungaram said the facilities meet the IAAF standards to host the championships.
“This is my second visit for inspection and a lot of work has been done and things are moving fast. I am sure it will be ready by this week,” she said.
After a not too encouraging outing at the last Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, Kenyans are looking to make a big statement in Asaba with their top athletes.
Last month, Athletics Kenya President Jack Tuwei said the federation will take the Asaba 2018 event seriously since the top two runners from each discipline will qualify for the IAAF Continental Cup scheduled for Ostrava, Czech Republic on September 8-9.

Nyairera out to make amends as she battles Semenya and Niyosaba in Lausanne

Olympic 800m bronze medallist Margaret Nyairera is seeking to bounce back at the Lausanne Diamond League meeting tomorrow after failing to finish in Paris a week ago.

Nyairera has had a mixed season so far at the circuit, finishing sixth at the Prefontaine Classic in Oregon, where she posted 1:58.67 in her first outing.
Nyairera hopes to find her form ahead of the Africa Championships slated for Nigeria next month. “The Diamond league races will enable me find the right form ahead of the Africa Championship,” she added.
Nyairera, who bagged silver the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast last April, said the early start to the season has contributed to her struggles on track. “The season started early with the Commonwealth Games but I hope come the Africa even,  I will be in peak condition,” she added. World and Commonwealth Games champion Caster Semenya won the two-lap race in Paris in 1:54.25. Former world champion Eunice Sum will also be in contention in the Swiss city after finishing ninth in 1:59.25 in Paris.
The two Kenyans will face off with Olympic silver medallist Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi, who was second in Paris behind Semenya in 1:55.86. Others to look out for include Ajee Wilson of the United States, home favourite Selina Buchel, Lynsey Sharp of the United States and Alemu Habitam of Ethiopia.
Davis Kiplangat leads a formidable strong Kenyan contingent in the 5000 metres alongside Collins Cheboi, Vincent Letting, David Bett, Sylvester Kiprotich and Richard Kimunyan in the 12-lap race.
They face stern test from Ethiopia’s World champion Muktar Edris alongside Yomif Kekelecha and world Under-18 champion Selemon Barega in a competitive field that is expected to produce fireworks.
Winny Chebet will lead Kenya’s hunt in the 1,500 metres alongside Nelly Jepkosgei and Emiliy Cherotich. The trio will be up against Hassan Sifan (Netherlands), Meraf Bahta (Sweden), Laura Muir (Great Britain), Dawit Seyaum, Gudaf Tsegay (Ethiopia), Liden Hall (Australia) and Arafi Rababe (Morocco).

Cheruiyot leads formidable lineup for Paris Diamond League

World and Commonwealth 1500m silver medallist Timothy Cheruiyot leads a formidable lineup to the Paris Diamond League meeting on Saturday.

Cheruiyot, who is part of Team Kenya to the Africa Senior Championships, will be hoping to continue his rich vein of form on the circuit.

He won the 800m at Kenya Prisons Championships a fortnight ago posting 1:44.7 and clinched last month’s Diamond League meeting in Shanghai after posting 3:31.48 in his specialty.

Cheruiyot, who has played second fiddle to World and Commonwealth Games champion Elijah Manangoi in the recent past, is confident of his from.

“My form is good and I am confident this year I can strike gold at the Africa championship in Nigeria and I will be using the Diamond League meeting to gauge my form as part of my preparations,” said Cheruiyot.

Cheruiyot, the Diamond League trophy holder, will enjoy the company of compatriots Bethwell Birgen and Charles Simotwo. The Kenyan trio will be up against a competitive field that includes home favourite Mahidiene Benabad, Djibouti’s Ayanleh Souleiman, Morocco ‘s Abdelaati Iguider, New Zealand’s Nick Willis, and Ethiopian trio of Wote Aman, Samuel Tefera and Taresa Tolosa as well as Filip Ingebrigsten of Norway.

Africa cross country champion Celliphine Chespol is the favourite in the 3000m steeplechase. Chespol, who has a season’s best of 9:05.14 and is world under 20 champion, leads a formidable lineup which includes former world champion Hyving Kiyeng, Beatrice Chepkoech, Roseline Chepngetich, Ann Gathoni, Norah Jeruto, Purity Kirui, Caroline Tuigong and Daisy Jepkemei .

They face Commonwealth Games champion in the distance Aisha Praught of Jamaica who will be keen to show her win in Gold Coast was not a fluke. Others to look out for are Canada’s Lalonde Genevieve and Fabiennne Schlumpf of Switzerland.

Former World 800m champion Eunice Sum is entered in the two-lap race and faces a Herculean task against fellow compatriots Olympic bronze medallist Margaret Nyairera, and Emily Cherotich .The Kenyan trio have their work cut out against World and Commonwealth Games champion Caster Semenya of South Africa, Olympic silver medallist Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi and Ajee Wilson of the United States of America.

World 800m bronze medallist Kipyegon Bett enters the fray in the two lap race alongside Ferguson Rotich and Jonathan Kitilit. They will compete against World champion Pierre Ambroise of France and Eric Sowinski of the United States.

KTB rewards Kirui, Kamworor and Keitany for superb show

Tourism Board has rewarded three Kenyan marathoners with a fully paid vacation following their impressive shows recently.

The 2017 Boston Marathon winner Geoffrey Kirui alongside the 2017 New York Marathon winning duo of Geoffrey Kamworor and Mary Keitany will spend the next five days at Amboseli National Park, Diani Beach and Kisite Mpunguti Marine Park.

This is the second time KTB is rewarding Kenya’s elite marathon runners with vacations under the  programme that was launched in November  last year. Wilson Kipsang and Sarah Chepchirchir were the first recipients.

Speaking during a press conference to announce the reward of the three marathoners, KTB Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Betty Radier said the gesture is a recognition of the important role the Kenyan athletes play in selling Kenya abroad.

Dr. Radier said: “Kenyan marathon champions are undoubtedly our nation’s best ambassadors given the races they participate in are held across Kenya’s key tourist source markets. Our champion athletes rub shoulders with ordinary citizens in the cities hosting the races as well as with professional athletes from other nations.”

“As the body mandated with the task of marketing Kenya’s tourism products, we recognise the huge profile that our athletic heroes occupy on the world stage. We believe our marathon champions can help push Kenya as a top tourist destination in the various marathon events they participate in.” the KTB CEO added.

Mary Keitany completed a Kenyan clean sweep at the Big Apple, clocking 2:17:01 to win the women’s category and becoming the second fastest female marathoner.