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Wanjiru trains his sights on Worlds after London glory

Monday April 24 2017
By AYUMBA AYODI

The new London Marathon champion Daniel Wanjiru now wants to extend his reign to the World Championships in Athletics that will be held in London from August 4 to 13.

Wanjiru, who won the London Marathon on Sunday in 2 hours, 05 minutes and 48 seconds, hopes that his performance will be enough to earn him a place in marathon team as he seeks to make his debut for Kenya.

“I am more than ready to represent Kenya for the first time…that has always been my dream,” said Wanjiru. “I want to go back to London in proper national colours now.”

Wanjiru, who won the Amsterdam Marathon in a personal best of 2:05:21 in October, said naming the marathon team early enough will give him ample time to prepare and plan well just as he did before his major victory in London on Sunday.

“After winning in Amsterdam, I concentrated my energies on preparing for London and it paid dividends,” said Wanjiru, adding that he will not compete in any other marathon race in case he will be named in the national team.

“Perhaps I will only warm up with one half marathon race ahead of the World Championships,” said the 24-year-old Wanjiru, who trained at his home area of Kanyekine in Kirinyanga County under coach Jason Mbote before his London victory.

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“I had planned well for London after my victory in Amsterdam. I didn’t want to tire myself with many road races,” said Wanjiru, who warmed up for London with a 12th place finish at the Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) Half Marathon in 1:02:16.

Bedan Karoki, who finished third at London Marathon in 2:07:41, won the RAK Half Marathon in 59:10. It was Karoki’s maiden race over the distance.

Wanjiru thanked his coach Mbote, his wife Sarah Njeri and children Shalin and Fidel-Thomas for the valuable support they gave him. 

Talking about the race, Wanjiru said that they had planned with Karoki to go for high pace with a view of taming pre-race favourite Kenenisa Bekele from Ethiopia.

“We had planned for Bekele and I saw him as no major threat based on how I had prepared,” said Wanjiru.

Wanjiru disclosed that he wanted Bekele to inch closer to him on Sunday in London after the Ethiopian recovered to overtake Karoki so as to end the race in a sprint finish.

“That is why my speed remained constant as I looked over my shoulders many times, “ Wanjiru said. “I wanted him close for the world to see drama at the end but he seemed out of gas.”

Wanjiru said he will take time to relax and see if he will make the national team.

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