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London champs plan huge family parties

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ELIUD-TUFALONDON, April 27- London Marathon champions Eliud Kipchoge and Tigist Tufa are planning to celebrate with their families after their incredible victories at the Virgin Money London Marathon Sunday.

Tufa, the Ethiopian star who won the elite women’s race in 2:23:22, said: “I want to help my immediate family financially, in different ways. There are also some children I know I would like to help financially. Then I’d like to buy a car as I don’t have one yet.”

Kipchoge, the 30-year-old Kenyan who, like Tufa, triumphed on his debut with a time of 2:04:42, added: “I’ve won races a lot over the last couple of years and I am a low key person so there will be no big celebrations.

“I’ll spend time with my family. I’m not a tourist now but the time will come when I can do things like that after I retire.”

It was the first time since 2004 that two debutants had won in the London Marathon’s elite races. Tufa, 28, whose older sister Mestawet won a silver medal at the 2008 World Cross Country Championships, reflected on Monday: “I didn’t sleep a lot last night but I’m so happy I don’t feel tired.

“I prepared very hard. Since 22 December I had been thinking and preparing for this race. I knew it would be hard with the other Ethiopian and Kenyan athletes but I knew I could win here. I came here to win and that’s what I did.

“It was my tactic to run with the group, not the pacemakers. I was running with Mary Keitany and the others for a long time before I pulled ahead.”

The men’s champion defeated last year’s winner Wilson Kipsang by five seconds after a thrilling men’s race, which saw the likes of Emmanuel Mutai, Stanley Biwott and Dennis Kimetto drop away from the lead group one by one.

ELIUD-PODIUMKipchoge, who also won the Chicago Marathon last year, said: “My mind was clear, I had a good plan. I prepared for three or four months for this race and I wanted to be the best prepared person in the field.

“I was ready to face anything. After getting ahead, I was a little bit scared Kipsang would overtake me later but when we got to 1K to go I was 80% sure I’d won.

“They say a champion is not manufactured when he wins races. It’s the seconds, minutes, hours, week and months when he prepares that matter.”

Looking to the future, the Kenyan said: “It’s important for me to go back and sit down with my coaches and management. Rio is ideal for me in 2016. I have Olympic silver and bronzes already, and I want to get a gold to complete the set.”

Both Tufa and Kipchoge plan to defend their titles in London next year.

-By London Marathon

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