World marathon record holders Eliud Kipchoge and Brigid Kosgei will lead Team Kenya over the 42-kilometre race at the Tokyo Olympics.
This is after Athletics Kenya president Jackson Tuwei Friday named the duo in the national marathon team for the Summer Games slated for July 24 to August 9. The marathon will, however, be run in Sapporo due to heat concerns in Tokyo during that period.
Kipchoge, who became the first man to run the marathon under two hours last year, will lead the men's team that also has World Marathon bronze medallist Amos Kipruto and Boston and Chicago Marathon champion Lawrence Cherono.
Bedan Karoki, who finished second in the Tokyo Marathon and fourth in Chicago last year, is among the reserves alongside Honolulu Marathon and African Games Half Marathon winner Titus Ekiru.
Kipchoge will be defending his title after winning gold in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
Kosgei, who shattered Paula Radcliffe's 16-year record in Chicago last year, will team up with 2018 London Marathon champion Vivian Cheruiyot and world champion Ruth Chepng'etich in a bid to win Kenya's second Olympic gold medal in women's marathon race.
Frankfurt Marathon champion Valary Aiyabei and Sally Chepyego, who finished third in Berlin last year, will be the reserves.
“We settled on this team after intensive consultations and analysis by our coaches. We also engaged the athletes to known their availability among other issues,” said Tuwei, who was flanked by the top hierarchy from Ministry of Sports, Culture and Arts led by Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed.
Also in attendance was the Ministry Cabinet Assistant Secretary Hassan Noor Hassan and Principal Secretaries Joe Okudo (Sports) and Josephta Mukobe (Arts).
Tuwei is confident that the team will put in a brave battle and ensure that Kenya retains the men and women’s titles after Kipchoge and disgraced Jemimah Sumgong.
“It’s unfortunate that Sumgong was banned for doping violation and that was a big shame. However, I am sure the athletes we have picked are clean and will not disgrace us again,” said Tuwei.