Pressure mounts as Kenyans Kipsang, Kipchoge off to Berlin marathon

Source: Xinhua| 2017-09-19 20:28:27|Editor: liuxin
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NAIROBI, Sept. 19 (Xinhua) -- The anxiety is reaching the boiling point as former world marathon record holder Wilson Kipsang and Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge left for Germany to compete at the Berlin Marathon on Sunday.

The two might be the hottest candidates to attack the 2:02:57 world record set by Dennis Kimetto in 2014 and their commitment to attain this goal leaves many imagining by how far they will raise the bar.

Throw in former Berlin marathon champion Kenenisa Bekele, former world marathon record holder Patrick Makau and Luke Kibet, the former world marathon champion and it doesn't get much better than that.

"I can't wait for the race day. I am looking forward to battle against Bekele and Kipchoge. I am better placed than anyone else to break the world record. I have done it before and believe I am able to do it again," Kipsang said on Tuesday in Nairobi.

The world record has been broken in the German capital a record six times, four of those by Kenyans athletes - Paul Tergat, Makau, Kipsang and Kimetto - while Haile Gebreselassie also did it twice.

But Kipsang also want to be second time lucky on Sunday as he seeks to improve his personal best time. "The journey has started," said Kipsang. "We are on our way to Berlin marathon with my wife and son."

Meanwhile, world marathon champion Geoffrey Kirui has backed Kipchoge and Kipsang to "obliterate" the world marathon record in Berlin.

"I have confidence that Kipchoge and Kipsang have what it takes to obliterate the record. This is a race where each athlete must sacrifice and go for it," he said.

Kirui, who was second at the London World Championships in August, confirmed that he is not planning to contest any more marathons in 2017.

"I won't run any marathon this year. I want to relax after my world championships feat," said Kirui, who is planning to run the Delhi Half Marathon on Nov. 19.

Kirui was to compete at the Chicago Marathon in October, but will now have to sit it out as he recuperates and watch closely how his body reacts.

Kirui is careful not to pick up fresh injuries having sat out the last two seasons with a knee problem.