Kipchoge to defend Olympic marathon title – if selected

Thursday, December 5th, 2019 00:00 |
Eliud Kipchoge crosses the finish line to win the men’s race of the 2019 London Marathon. Photo/PD/FILE

Nairobi, Wednesday

Eliud Kipchoge, the greatest marathon runner in history, the world record holder and only man to go under two hours for the distance, has told Reuters he will defend his Olympic title in Tokyo next year – if selected.

It should be reasonably safe to assume, even taking into account the often chaotic and inexplicable selection procedures that have long dogged Kenyan athletics, that Kipchoge will be given the chance to run next August.

“If selected I will be there.” he told Reuters in an exclusive interview in Nairobi on Tuesday.

“It (Tokyo) is at the front of my mind, and I trust and believe that when the time comes I will be on the starting line.”

That line will now be in the northern city of Sapporo, where the marathons and walking events have been moved by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in a bid to avoid the worst of the debilitating heat and humidity of the Tokyo area.

But Kipchoge, as ever, was careful not to voice a strong opinion on the issue.

That will be music to the ears of the organisers, especially in marathon-mad Japan, where the 35-year-old will be treated to the sort of adulation last seen when sprinter Usain Bolt was sweeping all before him.

Kipchoge has won 11 of his 12 official marathons, including the 2016 Rio Olympics, and with the world record and the sub-two hour mark under his belt, along with a string of lucrative big-city races he is a colossus of his sport.                  - AGENCIES

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