NAIROBI, Oct. 27 (Xinhua) -- Kenyan Martin Kosgey, a silver medalist from 2016, said he is eyeing fast time and a win as he returns to Frankfurt course on Sunday.
Kosgey said lack of wins in the marathon saw him overlooked for selection to the Rio Olympics and the World Championships in Beijing and London.
However, he is certain that with a win in Frankfurt, he will be closer to breaking into the Kenyan team for the 2019 World Championships in Doha, Qatar.
"It is easier to win a marathon than to be named in the Kenya team. I believe with a win in Frankfurt, and another one in early next year, I will have better chance of making it to the Kenya team. The important thing is that I am strong and injury-free after three months of training. I fear nobody and I'm ready for the hard task in Germany," said Kosgey on Saturday.
While Kosgey plans to go with the first group, so does Wilson Chebet, the three-time Amsterdam winner (2011-2013) who has done some training runs together with Frankfurt's course record holder and former world record holder Wilson Kipsang.
To win the title, Kosgey, clocking 2:07:22 to finish runner-up in 2016, also needs to beat Ethiopian Kelkile Gezahegn, who ran 2:06:56 in Frankfurt for second place last year and then improved his record to 2:05:56 for third place in Rotterdam in April.
With organizers bringing together 14 men who have run faster than 2:10.00, race director Christoph Kopp said they target fast time of 2:04.00.
"Our idea is to cover the first half in around 62 minutes 40 seconds. In Frankfurt, we often have a faster second half, which is what we hope to see on Sunday as well," Kopp said in a statement.
A number of debutantes from East Africa could spring a surprise. Among them is Kenya's Alex Kibet, who has run a world-class top time of 59:06 at this year's Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon in the United Arab Emirates in February.
Olympic bronze medalist Mare Dibaba, who is also the 2015 Beijing World Championship winner, leads the women field. She faces stiff challenge from Paris champion Betsy Saina (2:22:56).
"My victory in Paris gave me a lot of confidence," Saina said.
"Since my race in Paris I know that the marathon is my event and in Frankfurt I want to improve my time," she added.