By John Kwoba
NAIROBI, April 7 (Xinhua) -- Newly crowned world record holder Joyciline Jepkosgei of Kenya will be returning to action at the Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon in Japan, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race, on April 23.
The 23-year-old Jepkosgei produced one of the most stunning international breakout performances in recent years when she broke four world records at the Prague Half Marathon on April 1.
The Kenyan clocked 1:04:52 to shatter the previous mark by 14 seconds after also taking down world records for 10km, 15km and 20km en route to her triumph. All the four records are yet to be ratified by the IAAF.
"I feel am in top shape and adding another race will do me no harm. But I am not focusing on breaking the world half marathon record again. All I want is to win and post fast time," she said Friday in Eldoret.
Jepkosgei will be the focus of attention in the central Japanese city of Gifu, in a race that will also feature Ethiopian Belaynesh Oljira, Kenyan Philes Ongori and Mimi Belete of Bahrain.
Oljira, who boasts a 1:07:27 lifetime best, returns to action after her eighth place finish at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships Kampala 2017 on March 26.
Ongori, the runner-up at the World Half Marathon Championships in 2009, has a 1:07:38 career best, while Belete clocked her personal best of 1:09:14 in February.
Leading the men's field will be Kenyans Bernard Kipyego and Kenneth Keter. Kipyego, 30, a two-time winner at the Amsterdam Marathon, has a 59:10 half marathon lifetime best.
Keter, 20, ran his 59:48 personal best last year, and most recently finished fourth in the Paris Half Marathon on 5 March where he clocked 1:01:50. He was also fourth in this race in 2016.
The women's course record of 1:08:55 was set last year by two-time winner Eunice Kirwa of Kenya. The men's course record of 1:00:02 was set by Kenyan Bedan Karoki in 2014.