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Marathoners to train separately for Rio Games

Tuesday May 17 2016

Kenya's Helah Kiprop celebrates as she crosses the finish line and wins the women's category of the Tokyo Marathon in Tokyo on February 28, 2016. Athletics Kenya has allowed marathoners to prepare in their respective camps before coming together a few weeks to Brazil trip. AFP PHOTO | KAZUHIRO NOGI

Kenya's Helah Kiprop celebrates as she crosses the finish line and wins the women's category of the Tokyo Marathon in Tokyo on February 28, 2016. Athletics Kenya has allowed marathoners to prepare in their respective camps before coming together a few weeks to Brazil trip. AFP PHOTO | KAZUHIRO NOGI 

AYUMBA AYODI
By AYUMBA AYODI
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National marathon team members have been permitted to train at their respective camps ahead of the Rio Olympic Games scheduled for August 5 to 21.

Athletics Kenya (AK) president Jackson Tuwei said this was shift from tradition after a meeting with the runners at Riadha House on Monday.

Previously, AK used to put the marathon teams for the World Championships or the Olympics in camp after selection.

Tuwei said coach Richard Kimetto would liaise with a yet to be named technical bench to come up with a proper programme for the team.

“We have have opted for a new strategy and I hope it would yield results,” said Tuwei during a press conference.

“These are responsible athletes and I am sure they will coordinate well with the technical officials that we shall appoint,” he added.

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The team’s official training set will start officially next week. Tuwei said the athletes would be allowed to compete in selected races in the build- up to the Rio Olympics.

He said the team will only come together for a short camp for the sake of bonding and speed work few weeks before departure.

“We shall allow them to take part in short races like between 10km and half marathon but upon request. We will give the athletes the support they require,” said Tuwei.

World Marathon silver medallist Helah Kiprop and Paris Marathon champion Visiline Jepkesho, who are part of the Rio team, are the only athletes who didn’t attend the meeting.

Those in attendance were Berlin and London Marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge, New York City Marathon champion Stanley Biwott and 2012 Boston Marathon champion Wesley Korir, reserves Paris Marathon champion Cyprian Kotut and Bernard Kipyego.

Others are London Marathon champion Jemimah Sumgong, Berlin Marathon champion Florence Kiplagat and New York City marathon champion Mary Keitany.

Kenyan men will be eying their second Olympic marathon gold after the late Samuel Wanjiru gave Kenya its first victory at the 2008 Beijing Summer Games.

The women will be in search of their maiden victory after Catherine Ndereba won silver medal at 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing with Priscah Jeptoo going for a similar in 2012 London.

The athletes welcomed the move as they vowed to put their best foot forward and bring the two titles to Kenya. Women’s marathon will go down on August 14 while men’s race will be stage on the final day of August 21.

“I think it’s a good move considering that this is marathon and not track…furthermore most of us train together in Iten or Eldoret,” said Sumgong, who finished fourth during the 2015 World Championships in Beijing. “I won’t compete in any other race until after Rio.”

“That is a wise decision since I am sure everyone wants victory and will therefore work extra hard,” said Biwott, who will be competing for Kenya for the first time.

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