Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Headlines

Olympic champ Kiprotich wary of fame game

ATHLETICS-WORLD-2013-MARATHONTOKYO, February 20 – Reigning Olympic champion Stephen Kiprotich believes the marathon world record could soon dip under an eye-popping two hours and two minutes — but insisted he was not the man to do it.

A national hero in Uganda, where he is unable to walk down the street for fear of causing a traffic pile-up, Kiprotich told AFP that he was more concerned with racking up titles than chasing the speed demons as he prepared for this weekend’s Tokyo Marathon.

“For me, it’s more about winning races than times,” the 25-year-old, who backed up his gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics with a world title in Moscow a year later, said in an interview.

“A journalist asked me last year if I thought it was possible to break the world record in 2:02 and I said ‘Ooh, it’s impossible.’ But at the Berlin Marathon (Dennis Kimetto) ran 2:02 so I was wrong to say that.

“I believe that with good preparation and good weather that someone can run under 2:02,” added Kiprotich, competing in Sunday’s race to honour the memory of his baby daughter Elizabeth who passed away from a respiratory illness last month.

Kimetto set a world best of 2:02:57 in Berlin last year but Kiprotich predicted the Kenyan’s record would soon be eclipsed, just not by him.

“The record is possible — someone will break it,” he said.

“I don’t have that feeling that I can break it, but I feel other people can because they’re athletes, people who are naturally born with talent.

“Being Olympic champion and a world champion doesn’t matter as far as breaking the world record goes. Breaking the world record is something special.”

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Kiprotich will face a stern test in Tokyo with last year’s winner Dickson Chumba of Kenya aiming to improve on his course-record winning time of 2:05:42 and with twice London Marathon champion Tsegaye Kebede also among a tough field. The Ethiopian’s personal best is 2:04:38.

“My target is just to go for the win,” shrugged Kiprotich, who has yet to run under 2:07.

“I will be up against strong athletes who have run 2:04. I don’t care about the time too much. What is important for me is to win the race. I’m just focused on that.”

– Life-changing gold –

His knack for winning on the big occasion has made Kiprotich a celebrity in Uganda. After the London Olympics, his life changed forever.

“Before London I was unknown,” he said.

“After London I became so famous in my country. It used to be possible for me to walk down the street, now it’s not possible. Everyone stops what they’re doing. Cars stop, people stop and point. Children follow me. I have to be careful.”

The ninth running of the Tokyo Marathon also marks the start of a new race format comprising the world’s top six races — including Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York — under the umbrella of the World Marathon Majors (WMM), offering a $1.0 million purse split between the men’s and women’s champions.

Organisers also confirmed a crackdown on doping with the WMM to help finance extra testing of top runners by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), but declined to give details of the new testing protocols.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Tokyo Marathon chief Koji Sakurai promised that security had been beefed up for Sunday’s race to alleviate fears of a terrorist attack, such as the bomb blast which killed three people at the 2013 Boston Marathon.

“Anti-terrorist training and plans have been stepped up since Boston,” he said.

“The police and fire services will be on heightened alert for any terror threat.”

Mingling with more than 30,000 competitors will be an elite force of police runners wearing cameras that capture real-time footage of the course, along with over 6,000 security officials lining the streets.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Advertisement

More on Capital Sports

Football

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 25 – There is light at the end of the tunnel. After failed promises over the last three years since its...

Athletics

NAIROBI, Kenya, June 8 – Olympic Champion Caster Semenya and wife Violet Raseboya have hinted that they might be expecting a baby in a...

NFL

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 13 – Kenya’s history making Daniel Adongo, the first Kenyan to play in America’s National Football League (NFL), is now living...

Features

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 17 – The Kakamega High School ‘Green Commandos’ have produced a plethora of talent over the past decades in Kenyan football...

© 2020 Capital Digital Media. Capital Group Limited. All Rights Reserved