Kenya's Saina aims for fast time in Frankfurt

Source: Xinhua| 2018-10-23 20:05:40|Editor: Shi Yinglun
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By John Kwoba

NAIROBI, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) -- Paris Marathon champion Betsy Saina said she is ready to take on her challengers at Sunday's Frankfurt marathon in Germany.

Saina, 29, leads a strong Kenyan delegation of 13 runners to the race, all eyeing to impress the panel of selectors ahead of next year's World Marathon Championships in Doha, Qatar.

This will be Saina's second marathon and sixth race this year. She has competed in three 10km road races posting mixed results. She took the top honors at the Kagawa Marugame Half Marathon in Japan in February before going on to win Paris, her first major victory over 42km.

However, she believes past records and performances will not count when she lines up for the Frankfurt marathon on Sunday.

"I must be grateful for all the support that I have received from my trainers and colleagues for the past four months in camp. I am excited to see what is ahead. My training has been good and uneventful and I must say am ready to represent Kenya at the Frankfurt marathon," she said here on Tuesday.

On paper, Saina is not the fastest in the elite line-up in Frankfurt. That honor goes to Mare Dibaba, who won the 2015 World Championships in Beijing. The Ethiopian showed good form last Sunday as she won the Glasgow Half Marathon in 69 minutes and 15 seconds and her best time over 42km is 2:19.52.

But that is not giving Saina sleepless nights. "I have goals but I am more excited to compete. I have done the homework," she said.

Saina however, acknowledged that the group of world-class Ethiopians, who have run the marathon in less than two hours and 22 minutes, will pose a strong challenge.

She said her target now is to break the 2:20.00 barrier and improve on her best time of 2:22.56, which she managed in Paris in May.

Kenya's Wilson Chebet will lead a men's field that also has 12 runners with personal bests faster than 2:10.00.

With a strong personal best of 2:05.27, Chebet is now the fastest on the Frankfurt starting grid after Guye Adola of Ethiopia withdraw due to health concerns.

The 33-year-old Kenyan hopes to regain top form on Frankfurt's fast course after a period where he has struggled.