Having failed to illuminate the World Marathon Majors circuit in similar fashion to his record title winning runs at the Berlin and Daegu World Championships, Abel Kirui, is out to prove he can mix it with the best in rabbit-ed races when he lines up for the 2014 Tokyo Marathon.
Kirui, 31, is intending to pound the Tokyo streets on February 23 if it goes according to plan, dip under the course record of 2:06:50 ran by fast rising compatriot, Dennis Kimetto, the Chicago champion last year.
“I got this injury that spoilt the whole of last year. It was a very big disappointment especially for my fans. Losing the World Championships in Moscow and not running at the London city marathon where I was at the peak of my shape hurt.
“I thank God because he cannot disappoint you since after all these things, he has made me make a comeback,” the Olympics silver winner (2:08:27) who suffered a stress fracture as he was preparing to run at last April’s London Marathon having run 62:04 for eighth at Japan’s Marugame Half Marathon on Feb. 3.
“This (Saturday) is the fourth day I did 40K very comfortably (in training) and my coach was very happy and he was telling me that my form is coming. I’m feeling in my heart that my form is coming.
“I know at the end of this year, I will have brought my glory back. I will run in Tokyo on February 23 and fight to make my fans and country enjoy,” he added last weekend.
Kirui has failed to replicate his championship form on the circuit in his three previous WMM races, finishing sixth (2:07:56) and fifth (2:08:04) during the 2011 and 12 London marathons and eighth (2:13:01) at the 2011 New York race.
After being over looked for the star-studded April 13 London race, Kirui is hoping to demonstrate what the field will be missing by soaring to a maiden WMM race triumph.
“I thank the Tokyo organisers for their invitation believing I’m a great athlete. It’s a chance not everybody can get after being out of competition for one year.
“I believe the work out of four days ago can prove that I’m somewhere in Tokyo.”
On lowering Kimetto’s route best, the two-time World champion stated; “With good conditions, everything is possible so yeah, I can do it.”
Kirui will decide whether to go for a maiden Commonwealth title in Scotland later in the summer when he is done with his Tokyo assignment when asked whether he would be aiming to add to his collection of medals for his nation.
“I will say something after Tokyo for sure, if things are okay, I will want to do something there.”
Kirui blamed tactical ineptitude for Kenya ceding the world marathon title in Moscow last year to Uganda’s Stephen Kiprotich.
“They made small calculation errors. Preparations by our coaches and Athletics Kenya when we go for major championships should be four months in camp, there’s no shortcut in the marathon, not one month, two months or three months.
“I blame the (short) time they went to camp since it needs many long runs and requires thorough preparations. We apologise for this mistake and things will be good in future.
“Selection should not be less than six months before and if someone is injured, they should be honest enough to say they sense danger and give someone else a chance.”
Kirui is out to bid for a third world title next year in Beijing, China before targeting the Rio Olympics in 2016.
“I did not win Olympics in London, I came close and I want to do that in Rio but first, there is World Championships that I want to carry good form to,” he stressed.
Kirui made his name in Germany when he ran the championship record at the Berlin Worlds of 2:06:54 for gold before repeating in Daegu, South Korea with 2:07:38 on the clock that is the second quickest at the biennial IAAF showpiece.
Kirui and compatriot, Wilson Kipsang, now the world marathon record holder, were mugged by Uganda’s Kiprotich for the gold at the London 2012 Olympics.
He had just slowed down to inquire whether the fading Kipsang, who had led for most of the race, could carry on with the pace when Kiprotich side-stepped the favoured Kenyans to race away for the gold medal with less than two miles to go.
In Tokyo, he will be up against World Championships bronze winner, Tadese Tola, a 2:04 runner from Ethiopia as the main challenger.