Nairobi, Feb 5 (IANS) Eliud Kipchoge has written history before, and his next challenge is to become only the third man in history to successfully defend the Olympic marathon title. For a man, who only jumped to marathon after missing out on making the Kenya team to the London Olympics back in 2012 and later revolutionized the sport and left fans dreaming of how fast the human species can run, Tokyo Olympics will certainly be of importance to him.
The men’s marathon will be held on the final day of the competition on August 9. Moreover, marathon races from July 24 to August 9 have been shifted from Tokyo to Sapporo city.
This is to protect the athletes from the sweltering heat and high levels of humidity expected in the Olympics’ host city. But even that does not worry Kipchoge, who says if it will be hard for him, so will it be for other athletes.
“It is down to working hard. To ensure that the team achieve what is required in Sapporo. We shall come with medals,” Kipchoge said on Wednesday, according to Xinhua news.
“For now the Olympics looks like a long shot far away and in sports anything can happen. But the focus is there and the spirit is willing. Keep us in your prayers.”
For now, Kipchoge will be happy to focus on his immediate task, retaining his London marathon title, which is just two months away on April 26.
“It’s one race at a time. London marathon is my next stop and I am happy to be going there to defend my title,” he said.
While the focus will be on Kipchoge’s imminent clash with Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele in London and possibly in Tokyo, World Championships bronze medalist Amos Kipruto and Boston and Chicago Marathon champion Lawrence Cherono may help shield the legendary athlete from a direct collision as they too stand a huge chance to run away with the title.
Kenyan’s world half-marathon record-holder Geoffrey Kamworor, a former world 10,000m silver medallist, will however not run the marathon despite winning in New York last November.
Instead, Kamworor has opted to try one more time to win gold at the Olympics in the 25-lap race.
He however, has the small matter of securing the ticket through the explosive Kenyan trials in June.