NAIROBI, September 14 – Almost a year after returning to competition from a two-year doping ban, Kenyan long distance runner Mathew Kisorio is still fighting to represent his nation in his stated mission of redeeming his image.
Convicted of steroid use in 2012, the runner failed to make the Guiyang World Cross Country and Beijing World Championships squads, but he is not giving up as he targets to run under the men’s marathon 2:17:00 qualifying mark for 2016 Olympic Games in Rio-de-Janeiro when he runs at the Valencia Marathon.
The 26-year-old, who won the African junior 5,000m and 10,000m titles in 2007 made the announcement over the weekend after successfully defending his Ndakaini Half Marathon title where he clocked 65:15.
“I wanted to go for World Cross but I didn’t qualify. I tried my luck in track for the World Championships but I didn’t make it again and I’ve not lost hope. I have decided to focus on road racing.
“I still want to run for my country and this time, my target is to qualify for Olympics. I’m aiming to run good time either in November or early next year and I’m sure I will achieve it since I feel my body is responding well. I’m not straining so I’m okay,” Kisorio, the Mombasa 2007 World Cross junior bronze medallist declared.
Kisorio is preparing to run his third career marathon on November 15 in Spain.
Having a personal best of 2:10:58 he set at the 2011 New York City Marathon, Kisorio who captained Kenya to the 2011 World Cross Country Championships in Punta Umbria is eying to lower his life time best to the 2:06 region.
In his 42km debut in New York, he finished tenth before returning for his second major competition at the 2012 Boston Marathon where he was the race leader at the 30 km point, but progressively slowed in the hot conditions to repeat his position from the Big Apple in 2:18:15.
However, ahead of the Summer Games, Kisorio faces an uphill task in earning the ticket in an event where the country will be seeking to reclaim the men’s title last won by the late Samuel Wanjiru at the Beijing 2008 Olympics in a 2:06:32 championship record.
And with the Kenyan trio of World record holder, Dennis Kimetto, his predecessor, Wilson Kipsang and Paris Marathon winner, Mark Korir flopping in the Beijing Worlds, selection for Rio de Janeiro ultimate distance squad is expected to be vigorous, as announced by Athletics Kenya.
“I know it will be hard but if I make the qualifying time, I will give it a try. Nothing is impossible and for now Olympics is my goal,” Kisorio, a National Police Service runner underscored.
Kisorio’s stint with the national team began in 2006 when he was selected to contest at the World Junior Championships, in Beijing, after Thomas Longosiwa, had been accused of lying about his age, but could not travel since he had no passport.
In February 2007, he won the 8km race at the national trials for the Mombasa World Cross to wear the red, green and black strip for the first time where he went on to clinch bronze behind Asbel Kiprop and Vincent Kiprop Chepkok.
In August, coming in as a last-minute inclusion to the national team for the African Junior Championships, in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Kisorio went on to win the 5000m (14:13.25) and 10,000m (29:34.96) double.
He hit the headlines in 2012 when he became Kenya’s highest profile athlete at the time test positive for a banned anabolic steroid at the national championships and was subsequently banned for two years.