Amos Kipruto and Eric Kiptanui will lead a strong Kenyan contingent at this year’s Tata Steel Kolkata 25km road race in India on Sunday.
The pair will be seeking to lower the course record of 1:13:48 set by Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele last year.
Kipruto, who has been training in Kapsabet, says that he is prepared for the tough battle ahead. "This is my first race after Berlin Marathon where I finished second after Eliud Kipchoge in September. I have prepared well and I know I will be on the podium on Sunday," said Kipruto who runs under the 2 Running Club banner.
"It will be a tough race because all the athletes look good. It will be a fast race and that means the course record may be lowered," he told Nation Sport before flying out of the country.
Kipruto is using the race as part of his preparations for the season. He will be going back to Tokyo Marathon in February to try and better his third finish earlier this year. Kenya’s Dickson Chumba won this year’s race.
Kipruto and Kiptanui will face stiff competition from Ethiopians Birhanu Legese, two-time New Delhi Half Marathon winner, and Fentahun Hunegnaw. Others in the elite field includes Eritrea's Samson Gebreyohannes, Uganda's Nathan Ayieko and Tanzania's Augustino Sulle.
In the women category, former world half marathon record holder Florence Kiplagat will be battling it out with defending champion Degitu Azimeraw from Ethiopia.
Kiplagat will be using the race to try and get a podium finish after she emerged fourth in Chicago Marathon in October. Tanzania’s Failura Matanga and Sutume Asefa from Ethiopia complete the cast in women’s elite race.