Kenya’s Kirui seeks legendary status by London conquest

Nairobi, Jan 3 (IANS) Lack of form and a career threatening injury derailed Kenya’s marathon champion Abel Kirui’s bid to become the first man to win three World marathon championships.

However, for a man who is on the cusp of his last major competition at the London World Championships, winning a record third title is the biggest inspiration he has ahead of the season that will see him compete at the London marathon in April to cement his place in the national team,reports Xinhua.

“I have to prove my critics wrong. A fast time in London is inevitable and with the good form I enjoy at the moment, it will not be a hard shot,” Kirui said on Tuesday.

The two-time International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) world marathon champion said that at the age of 34, he is on his last lap and is not seeing himself competing for the country beyond 2017.

“I want to secure that important hat-trick in London. It will be so crucial but as usual in Kenya to get selected is the hardest part and it is within my strides to prove to the coaches that I am the best bet to carry the country flag in London in August,” he added.

Kirui achieved back-to-back wins at the 2009 and 2011 world championships in Berlin and Daegu before a hamstring injury halted his ambitious cruise.

He has now gone back to his camp in Kaptagat to start his training in a bid to enter the team.

“I have already started my preparations for the IAAF World championships in London and I am optimistic that I will make the cut in marathon for the competition,” Kirui said.

“First I want to run in London marathon in April to get a good time. This will enable me to enter into the team for the marathon where I will be seeking my third title in the world championships,” he added.

He represented Kenya at the 2012 Olympics in London getting a silver medal after Uganda’ s Stephen Kiprotich stole the show in the last kilometres to win gold.

Kenya’ s Eliud Kipchoge has since reclaimed the title from the Ugandan at the Rio Olympics and is a major prospect for the London World Championships in August.

“I didn’ t make the Rio Olympics team because of injury. It has since healed and I have proved my fitness in winning in Chicago last October. It was a tough battle and I expect the same in London in April,” he said.

With a personal best time of 2:05:04 set at the 2009 Rotterdam Marathon, Kirui knows it will count for nothing as there are faster runners in the country.

–IANS

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