NAIROBI, Jan 31 — Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge, the first to break the mythic two-hour mark, and Vivian Cheruiyot will lead the Kenyan marathon team for the Tokyo Olympics in August.
Athletics Kenya (AK) president Jackson Tuwei said the country expected a drug-free Olympics and hoped the selected athletes will run clean.
“In the last Olympic Games in Rio our female athlete who won the women’s marathon gold medal was a shame for us,” said Tuwei, in reference to Jemima Sumgong who tested positive for EPO and was banned for eight years.
Over 40 Kenyan athletes have been banned since January 2019 for doping offences.
The Olympic women’s and men’s marathon races will be held in the Japanese city of Sapporo on August 8 and 10.
Kipchoge, 35, made history in October when he ran the marathon distance of 42.195km in 1hr 59min 40.2sec in a carefully-choreographed attempt in Austria.
The Olympic champion, who also holds the official world record of 2:01;39, won this year’s London marathon in April before his incredible feat in an unofficial event in Vienna.
This will be the fifth Olympic appearance for Cheruiyot who is looking forward to making an impression in her first Games’ marathon.
“This is the best marathon team Kenyan has elected and I am proud to be one of them” said the veteran 36-year-old runner, who became the first Kenyan woman to win a world track double 5k and 10k in Daegu, South Korea in 2011.
“My target is to train well and stayed focused for a podium finish in Sapporo,” said Cheruiyot, who is targeting April’s London marathon as a build-up race.
The other women athletes in the team are the world record holder Brigid Kosgei and the reigning world champion Ruth Chepnetich, with Valerie Ayabei and Sally Chepyego as reserves. — AFP