Valencia heroes chase Olympics dreams
Athletics Kenya yesterday received victorious competitors from the recently concluded Valencia Marathon.
Two days after “conquering’’ the Spanish city, a team of six athletes were treated to a warm reception at Riadha House, the federation’s headquarters yesterday morning
They were received by AK senior vice-president Paul Mutwii and Nairobi branch chairman Barnaba Korir who lauded them for a job well done.
During the event, newly crowned World Half Marathon record holder Kandie Kibiwott and women’s marathon champion Peres Jepchirchir declared their intentions to win Olympics titles, while new Valencia Marathon champion Evans Chebet said he is still hopeful of donning Kenyan colours at a major global event.
At 32-years-old, Chebet says the Valencia Marathon race where he outsprinted the reigning Boston and Chicago Marathon champion Lawrence Cherono to win in 2:03:00 showed his desire to represent the country at the Olympics.
The father of two says he derives his motivation from the fact that many had ruled him out even before the race started.
“The field was strong with big favourites. That played a big role in taking away the pressure from me. I felt confident and at 32km I could sense something special,” said Chebet.
Having raced in major marathons before (Berlin 2016, Tokyo 2017 and Boston 2018), Chebet says should he get an opportunity, he will give his all to represent Kenya.
Kibiwott who smashed the world record by 29 seconds in his new time of 57:32 said he made a lot of sacrifices enroute to victory.
Having been compared to one of the greats Paul Tergat, Kandie, 24, wants to live up to expectations.
“Given that we also come from the same county makes the comparison special. I want to go for an Olympics medal next year,” declared the athlete.
Jepchirchir who set a course record in Valencia says she has what it takes to win in Tokyo next year.
Having managed two world records and a course record in the space of three months, the 28-year-old is preparing for a busy season ahead.
“Olympics will have big names in road racing but that will not worry me. I have a lot of confidence in what I can do.
I know I have it in me to win,” said Jepchirchir who won the race in a PB of 2:17.16 .