Sammy Kitwara wants to exorcise the ghosts that saw him miss out of the World Championships in Berlin by breaking Kenya’s duck at the World Half Marathon Championships in Birmingham on October 11.
Hounded out of Kenya’s team to the Berlin World Championships for running in a race in Atlanta without Athletics Kenya’s approval, Kitwara has a point to prove as he seeks to silence his critics as he features for Kenya for the first time in an international championship.
“I was rightly denied the ticket to Berlin. But that was then and I have another chance and intend to utilise it to the maximum. I want to win the individual title,” he said.
Kitwara sprinted to a 58:58 minutes victory at the Rotterdam Half-Marathon on September 13 to catch the eyes of the selectors and believes he is in his best form to end the domination of three-time reigning champion, Zersenay Tadese of Eritrea.
In Rotterdam, the 22-year-old policeman’s performance was the fourth fastest ever making him just the sixth man to dip under the magical 59-minute barrier.
In March, Kitwara won the City-Pier-City Half Marathon in The Hague, beating the emperor of the road, Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia, to second place.
“Depending on the weather and how flat the course will be, you should be ready for another sub-60 minute run. It is a race for Kenya to lose, if we stick together like pacemakers and run tactically, we will claim both the team and individual titles,” he said.
Another runner keen to improve on the silver medal she claimed in 2007 is Mary Keitany. With record-breaking Dutchwoman Lornah Kiplagat absent in Birmingham, Keitany is relishing the prospects of victory