By John Kwoba
NAIROBI, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- Two-time world marathon champion Edna Kiplagat of Kenya is feeling no pressure even as organizers of the Boston marathon announced an elite team that has won 14 global championship medals and 17 World Marathon Majors titles.
Ten of the athletes in the women's elite field have faster best times than 2:23, including Olympic silver medallist Eunice Kirwa of Bahrain and three-time Dubai Marathon winner Aselefech Mergia of Ethiopia. Boston marathon will be held on April 16.
"It is always this caliber of athletes you expect in top city marathons. I have raced them before and excelled and I believe I have what it takes to take them down again in 2018," Kiplagat said on Friday from Iten.
"The pressure is not on me in my quest to retain the title. I have won here before and I know the course very well."
Course record-holder Buzunesh Deba of Ethiopia will return to the scene of her 2014 triumph, while two-time Frankfurt Marathon winner Mamitu Daska will be making her third appearance in Boston.
Caroline Rotich, who won the 2015 Boston Marathon, returns and is joined by fellow Kenyan Gladys Chesir, who makes her Boston debut after finishing runner-up in Amsterdam last year.
Reigning champion and world champion Geoffrey Kirui (2:06:27) heads the international field for the Boston Marathon. Tamirat Tola (2:04:11) of Ethiopia is the fastest of six sub-2:06 athletes in the elite men's field ahead of teammates and former winners Lemi Berhanu (2:04:33) and Lelisa Desisa (2:04:45).
Kenya's fastest athlete is Norbert Kigen (2:05:13), Wilson Chebet (2:05:27), Evans Chebet (2:05:30) and Felix Kandie (2:06:03).
Also in the field is frequent racer Yuki Kawauchi (2:08:14) and German record-holder Arne Gabius (2:08:33).
Three-time Amsterdam Marathon winner Wilson Chebet will be making his fifth appearance in Boston.
The Kenyan, who has a best of 2:05:27, finished fifth in Boston last year but has twice made it on to the podium, placing second in 2014 and third in 2015.
Compatriots Norbert Kigen, Evans Chebet, Felix Kandie and Philemon Rono - all of whom set lifetime bests last year - will be making their Boston Marathon debuts.
Elkanah Kibet, the top US finisher in the marathon at the 2017 World Championships, and U.S. marathon champion Timothy Ritchie have also been added to the field. Enditem