Euro record holder Ozbilen backs to train in Kenya

Source: Xinhua| 2019-12-03 23:41:01|Editor: yan
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NAIROBI, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) -- Turkey's Kaan Kigen Ozbilen has credited training with World marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge and coach Patrick Sang for his good fortune in marathon running.

Ozbilen, whose former name was Mike Kipruto Kigen, represented Kenya until 2015 when he switched his nationality to Turkey.

On Sunday he smashed Mo Farah's European record in Valencia clocking 2:04:16 to finish second behind Ethiopia's Kinde Atanew who won and set a new course record of 2:03:51.

"I have been training with the best group in the world - the wonderful Patrick Sang who is coaching Eliud Kipchoge," Ozbilen said on Tuesday on return to Kenya.

In fact, the 33-year-old feels he could have run faster had it not been a painful leg he had on the final stretch of the race, which he said slowed him down.

"I was expecting to run well but I was only at 80 percent because I had a problem. But generally, everything went well," he said.

Ozbilen, who was part of the larger pace setters that propelled Kipchoge to write history becoming the first man to run the marathon in less than two hours (1:59.40).

"Eliud told me 'you are capable of winning this race because we have been training together and in every section we have been finishing together," said Ozbilen.

Now he will take some rest and hope to emerge strongly as he bids to make Turkey's marathon team for the Tokyo Olympic in 2020.

"I hope to make the Olympics team," he added. "Unlike Kenya where there are many marathon runners, in Turkey it is different. But I have to work hard to improve on my time and see where the coach wants me to run next," he said.

Ozbilen made his debut in the marathon in January 2013, coming eighth at the Dubai Marathon with a time of 2:08:24 hours. This year he was second at the Rotterdam marathon, an improvement from the fifth-place finish in Amsterdam in 2018.

He represented Turkey at the 2017 World Championship in marathon finishing 14th timing 2:14:29 and was also in Rio Olympic Games where he finished in position 17 (2:14:11) in a race won by his training mate Eliud Kipchoge.