Roundup: Kipchoge, Kosgei lead Kenya hunt for Olympic marathon glory

Source: Xinhua| 2020-02-01 02:27:18|Editor: huaxia

NAIROBI, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) -- World record holder Eliud Kipchoge and Brigid Kosgei will lead Kenya's marathon team to the Tokyo Olympic Games.

In a message of intent, Kenya has picked the most successful runners for the task in Tokyo, giving Vivian Cheruiyot and Lawrence Cherono their dream ticket to the games.

Athletics Kenya President Jackson Tuwei on Friday confirmed the names ending speculation on who will be making the Kenya team.

The Olympic Games will run from July 24 to August 9 with the marathon moved to Sapporo city, due to heat concerns in Tokyo during the period.

Kipchoge, who is yet to lose a marathon since 2013 will anchor the men's team with the silk of world marathon bronze medalist Amos Kipruto and Boston and Chicago Marathon champion Lawrence Cherono.

"It is an honor to compete for Kenya. I will be there because Tokyo Olympics has always been in front of my mind. It is a strong team and I believe that with focus together we will achieve more," said Kipchoge on Friday.

Kipchoge is the person who became the first man to run the marathon under two hours last year and is the marathon defending champion having won in Rio Games back in 2016 clocking 2:08:44, his slowest in the 14 races he has won.

Tokyo marathon silver medalist Bedan Karoki was unlucky to make the cut and could only fit in on the reserves bench together with Honolulu marathon Titus Ekiru.

The two can only make the team should one of the three selected runners pick an injury or pull out of the race.

On the women front, Kosgei, who has not lost a race for the last two seasons, has earned the admiration of the selectors having shattered Paula Radcliffe's 16-year record in Chicago last year clocking 2:14.04.

In April Kosgei won the London marathon in 2:18:20 ahead of Vivian Cheruiyot 2:20:14. Cheruiyot later was fourth at Valencia marathon having skipped Berlin with a tendon injury.

Kosgei will lead the Kenya onslaught in Tokyo accompanied by 2018 London Marathon champion Vivian Cheruiyot and World marathon champion Ruth Chepng'etich.

Kenya has a tough task to retain the title won in Rio Olympics by Jemimah Sumgong, who later failed a dope test and was banned from the sport.

On the women reserve bench will be Frankfurt marathon champ Valary Aiyabei and Berlin bronze medalist Sally Chepyego.

"It is a dream come true," said Cheruiyot. "My goal for 2020 is to win at the Tokyo Olympics. But I also have unfinished business in London."