By John Kwoba
NAIROBI, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) -- Two time world marathon champion Abel Kirui of Kenya hopes to be third time lucky on his return to England when he competes at the London Marathon on April 22.
Kirui, 33, is fully focused on securing a podium finish after he missed out by a whisker in last year's competition.
"I was confident of winning bronze, but from nowhere my friend Bedan Karoki emerged from behind and beat me to it. It felt bad and I wanted to hit him but that is sport," he said on Tuesday.
Indeed that will be water under the bridge when Kirui lines up against some of the strongest contenders in marathon for the April contest.
Kirui must be at his best if he has to beat Kenenisa Bekele, who ran 2:03.02 in Berlin in 2016, current Olympic and Berlin marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge, Stanley Biwott, former champion in New York, defending champion Daniel Wanjiru, bronze medalist Bedan Karoki among others.
"The London Marathon always has the best of the best and that is why it is important to win a medal there. Running is not about a Kenyan or Ethiopian win but it's about full focus and hardwork. I see the record tumbling," said Kirui.
The world record is held by Kenyan Dennis Kimetto at 2:02:57 with Kipchoge having failed to beat it in Berlin last year clocking 2:03:33.
Kipchoge also holds the London course record of 2:03:05, which he set in his last win in 2016.
"Olympic champion Kipchoge will return to the London Marathon looking to make it a hat-trick of wins in the capital," said organizers.
But that has done little to convince Kirui from focusing on his target for first medal in London.
"I have tried several times to get the podium in London. I fought hard last year and felt it was finally happening only for Karoki to beat me at the final stretch," said Kirui, who finished fourth last year in a race won by teammate Daniel Wanjiru.
Kirui also lost his Chicago Marathon title to American Galen Rupp in October. Enditem