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Kipsang to defend New York crown

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Wilson Kipsang after winning last year's New York Marathon. He is among stars taking part in the 836km march for peace. PHOTO/File

Wilson Kipsang after winning last year’s New York Marathon. He is among stars taking part in the 836km march for peace. PHOTO/File

NAIROBI, September 14- After another major championship disappointment, former world marathon record holder Wilson Kipsang will return to the streets of New York to defend his crown on November 1.

Kipsang fronts the elite men’s squad that features two other former champions at the Big Apple, Ethiopia’s Gebregzhiabher Gebremariam and home favourite Meb Keflezighi and will be out for a quick return to the podium after his disappointing DNF at the Beijing Worlds.

He forms part of an elite men’s field featuring five athletes who have gone under 2:05 for 26.2 miles and will face internal competition from two-time Berlin third finisher and World Cross champion, Geoffrey Kipsang Kamworor who won men 10,000m silver in Beijing.

Stanley Biwott, who finished fourth in London this April where Kipsang surrendered his title to Eliud Kipchoge is also in the running with Ethiopian Boston champion, Lelisa Desisa and his countryman Yemane Tsegay completing the list of likely winners.

“My training is going very well. I am very happy to come back to race the streets of New York City again and defend my title,” Kipsang is quoted on Athletics Weekly in accepting to return for his second title defence of 2015.

The London 2012 Olympics bronze medallist, won the World Marathon Majors series in 2013-14, ran his PB of 2:03:23 to win the 2013 Berlin Marathon and break the then world record.

He won the London Marathon in 2013 and 2014, the latter in a course record of 2:04:29, and placed second at this year’s event but failed to hit the heights when he partnered his successor as standard bearer, Dennis Kimetto and Paris champion, Mark Korir at the Beijing Worlds.

Kipsang apologised for the performance saying the heat at the Chinese capital had subdued the Kenyans.

“We’re thrilled to welcome back our defending champion Wilson Kipsang, along with Meb Keflezighi, America’s top marathoner, and this year’s Boston Marathon champion, Lelisa Desisa, for the 2015 TCS New York City Marathon,” race director Peter Ciaccia told Athletics Weekly.

“Fans lining the 26.2-mile route across the city will get to see the world’s top marathoners, many of whom will be running for their home countries in the 2016 Olympic Games next summer in Rio.

“This is one of our most exciting fields in years and a key race in the Abbott World Marathon Majors Series IX. More than a million people will watch the race live while the global television broadcast will make it available to 500 million homes worldwide,” he added.

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