Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge and two-time World marathon champion Edna Kiplagat will lead Kenya’s marathon assault at the London World Championships due August 4 to 13 at the Olympic Stadium.
Kipchoge will partner with the 2012 Olympic marathon silver medallist Wilson Kipsang, who won the Tokyo Marathon in February, and the new London Marathon champion Daniel Wanjiru as they try to recapture the men’s title which Abel Kirui last won for Kenya in 2011.
Reigning Boston Marathon champion Geoffrey Kirui and the 2016 Mumbai Marathon champion Gedion Kipketer, who finished second in the Tokyo Marathon, have been picked as reserves in the men’s team.
Kiplagat, whose dream for a hat-trick has been kept alive, will partner with the new world women’s marathon record holder Mary Keitany and Chicago Marathon champion Florence Kiplagat, who will be representing Kenya for the first time over the distance at a championship race.
Reserves in the women’s team are Purity Rionoripo and Agnes Barsosio, who claimed a 1-2 finish at the Paris Marathon in April.
While naming the team, Athletics Kenya deputy president in charge of competition Paul Mutwii urged the athletes to confirm their participation by Monday so as to enable them plan for the team training.
“We shall call them alongside the coaches we shall have selected for a meeting since we want to discuss the logistics that will involve their training,” said Mutwii, adding that the selection was done on merit.
Kipchoge’s rise in marathon has been phenomenal with the pinnacle of it being his Rio Olympics marathon victory in August last year, a feat that came four months after running a personal best of 2:03:05 with victory in London, missing the world record by eight seconds.
Last Saturday, Kipchoge, 32, ran the fastest time in marathon history (2.00:25) in Italy where he tried to break the 2 hours barrier in Nike Breaking2 project.
Kipsang won bronze in the marathon at the 2012 London Olympics but failed to finish the race during the 2015 World Championships in Beijing. The 30-year-old bounced back to win the Tokyo Marathon in a course record breaking time of 2:03:58.
The new kid on the block, Wanjiru, 24, (not related to the late 2008 Olympic marathon champion Samuel Wanjiru), swept to victory in the London Marathon in 2:05:49 on April 23, seven months after winning in Amsterdam, to seal his place in the team.
Edna, 37, who hopes for a third title having won the World titles in 2011 and 2013, won the Boston Marathon on her debut in 2:21:53 to claim her place in the team.
The 34-year-old Keitany’s show was simply phenomenal in London, where she shattered the 14-year-old women’s World record by 41 seconds with a a new time of 2:17:01.
Florence, 30, might have settled ninth in London in 2:26:25 but her experience, having won Chicago Marathon in October last year and Berlin Marathon twice, gave her the nod.
Men- Eliud Kipchoge, Wilson Kipsang, Daniel Wanjiru. Reserves-Geoffrey Kirui, Gedion Kipketer.
Women-Edna Kiplagat, Mary Keitany, Florence Kiplagat. Reserves- Purity Rionoripo, Agnes Barsosio