NAIROBI, Kenya, February 9- Olympics marathon titleholder, Ugandan Stephen Kiprotich is preparing to crown his London Marathon debut with a personal best run in April.
Speaking in an interview with Alberto Stretti for his online blog, Kiprotich also admitted his 2:08:01 shocking triumph over two of Kenya’s in-form ultimate distance runners last year when the same city hosted the Olympics was down to good fortune on the day.
“I need to prepare well and go to London to run my personal best. I saw the start list and it is a compilation of strong athletes. If I run a personal best, no matter I win or not, everything will be okay,” Uganda’s second Olympics gold winner in history stated.
“It was a good day for me to run at the London Olympics. Winning just comes to luck, to me it was a lucky thing. I liked the way I ran and I did not fear the two Kenyans who are strong guys but I had a strong feeling,” he outlined his epic triumph over double world champion, Abel Kirui and London titleholder, Wilson Kipsang last summer.
Besides a slice of good fortune, Kiprotich also had another ace in his sleeve when he toppled his more illustrious competitors.
“It was a championship race and I knew these guys were used to pace makers so I knew it was all about tactics and if you wanted to be the pace maker for them, they would have let you,” he disclosed how he shadowed Kipsang and Kirui before pouncing on them for the top medal.
“We tried to ask him to help in pushing the pace but he declined. We thought he was tiring and I waited for my colleague (Kipsang) to recover but when we looked, he was gone and it was too late to catch up,” London silver medallist, Kirui, said upon his return from the Olympics to collaborate the claim that Kiprotich mugged the Kenyans.
The Ugandan has a marathon career best of 2:07:20 notched up when winning the 2011 Enschede Marathon that also accounts for Uganda’s record.
Having competed in Spain, Kiprotich has returned to his adopted home, Kenya to plan his London assault where he will once again face his Olympics podium partners in a thrilling re-match.
“I chose Kenya since the country is far from home since if I trained at home, I would be doing a lot of work and not focus on training. The company and facilities in Uganda are also not like those in Kenya,” the Global Sports athlete explained.
Kiprotich trains alongside the Beijing 2008 steeplechase titleholder, Brimin Kipruto who was fifth in London, former world 5000m champion Eliud Kipchoge and the 2011 World Cross junior titleholder, Geoffrey Kipsang Kamworor among other elite runners.
Besides landing the coveted invitation to the World Marathon Majors marquee London race following his triumph, Kiprotich has lapped the fame in his homeland after following the steps of 400m hurdler, John Akii-Bua 40 years earlier in delivering the top medal to his nation.
“It has changed my life so much. Before I used not to be known but winning has raised my name higher in Uganda and the whole world
“Even the small children know me and this is what I have been dreaming. After London, my mission has been fulfilled. I wanted to be a legend sometime but that has been fulfilled,” the runner who has variously lived in Eldoret and Iten since he shifted to Kenya in 2009 told.
He believes Uganda still has a long way to match the pedigree of her neighbours and adopted home as far as athletics prowess is concerned.
“I don’t think Uganda can come to the level of Kenya now since the number of athletes you can count compared to Ethiopia and Kenya. Maybe in future if we train young ones and have facilities, we shall have few but strong runners.”
To him, the only outlet to success for those keen on aping his achievements is, “Work hard and also work on something that is achievable. Athletes train hard to achieve and maybe in 2016, we could have a new athlete, nothing comes free.”
His Olympics success was preceded by a third finish (2:07:50) at the Tokyo Marathon in February 2012 having finished ninth (2:12:57) at the Daegu World Championships the preceding season.