Kenya's Kamworor eager to prove mettle at New York marathon

Source: Xinhua| 2017-09-01 09:41:16|Editor: liuxin
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By John Kwoba

NAIROBI, Aug. 31 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's World Cross Country Champion Geoffrey Kamworor will return to the marathon distance when he lines up at the New York marathon on Nov. 5 to challenge defending champion Ghirmay Ghebreslassie from Eritrea.

Kamworor, who opted out of marathon earlier this year to focus on the track competition, has had bad lack in the 10,000m where he finished sixth at the London World Championships in August.

It was a worse performance after claiming silver at the Beijing World Championships where he was beaten by Mo Farah of Britain.

"I have had my time on track now I return to marathon and hopefully, I will win," said Kamworor on Thursday from Eldoret.

The reigning world half marathon champion is one of the rising Kenyan stars in marathon.

The 24-year-old was the 2015 New York Marathon runner-up and is a four-time world champion, twice in cross-country and twice in the half-marathon.

His personal-best time of 2:06:12 came from his marathon debut in 2012, when he finished third at the Berlin Marathon.

But when turning up in New York in November, Kamworor will seek to clear his credential as being no fluke and confirm he is a strong challenger in marathon when he takes up on Ghebreslassie, who is the sixth fastest entrant in the elite men's field behind Ethiopians Lemi Berhanu (2:04:33), Lelisa Desisa (2:04:45), Switzerland's Tadesse Abraham (2:06:40) and Kenya's Lucas Rotich (2:07:17).

The New York Marathon will have a world-class field representing 27 countries including 22 Olympians, 11 Paralympians and 16 athletes - 10 in the open division and seven in the wheelchair division - who have previously finished on the New York City Marathon podium.

"Having Ghirmay, Marcel, and Mary return to the streets of New York to defend their titles among a group of athletes ... is a true testament to the TCS New York City Marathon being one of the most world-class and universally diverse sporting events," said Peter Ciaccia, the race director of New York Marathon in an press statement.

Ghebreslassie, 21, became the youngest men' s winner in the history of the New York City Marathon last year, breaking the tape in 2:07:51.

He posted the third-fastest winning time in history, and was the first Eritrean winner in race history. In 2015, he became the youngest winner in IAAF World Championships Marathon history, and his gold medal was Eritrea's first ever at the event.

He was fourth at the Rio 2016 Olympic Marathon and owns a personal-best of 2:07:46 from last year's London Marathon, where he also finished fourth.

"I'm proud to return to New York to defend my title as the TCS New York City Marathon champion," Ghebreslassie said.

"The crowds along the course are fresh in my memory, and I will work hard to do well again this year." But that will not deter Kamworor from going for the bounty.