NAIROBI, March 19 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's Fancy Chemutai said Monday she is ready for the World Half Marathon title in Valencia after her cruise and victory at the RAK Half Marathon in the UAE.
The 23-year-old said since her victory in United Arab Emirates last month, the world's focus oscillated between her and compatriot and world record holder Joyciline Jepkosgei.
"I have been thrust to the center of the battle and other athletes will be looking out to stop me or Jepkosgei. But I have to put my focus on running my own race," she said.
Chemutai also confirmed that the ankle injury scare she suffered on her way to victory in UAE has cleared and she is ready for the World Half Marathon, which will be held in Valencia, Spain on Sunday (March 24).
"I enjoyed my victory at the RAK Half Marathon though it came with an ankle problem. I lost valuable days in my preparation and some important training sessions. But I remain proud to have made it this far," she added.
Chemutai crossed the finish line in 1:04:52, tantalizingly just one second outside Jepkosgei's world record set last year in Valencia.
She beat Mary Keitany to second position clocking 1:06:46. The pair now sit at second and third on the world all-time list behind Jepkosgei.
Jepkosgei, who also competed in the RAK Half Marathon, was a distant fifth. Jepkosgei was one of the sensations of the 2017 season, setting world records at 10km, 15km and 20km on her way to clocking 1:04:52, then a world half marathon record in Prague in Czech Republic. Later in the year she took one second off that mark when winning in Valencia in a world record of 1:04:51.
Chemutai and Jepkosgei will team up with Mary Wacera, the silver medallist in 2014 and bronze medalist in 2016, who will be vying for her third successive podium finish in Valencia. Others are Ruth Chepngetich and Japan-based Pauline Kaveke. Enditem