NAIROBI, Kenya, June 27 – NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 27 – “They say if success is your goal, then winning is not an option but it’s an absolute necessity.”
That is the message two time back-to-back London Marathon champion, Eliud Kipchoge sounded as he exuded confidence to win the men’s marathon Olympics gold when the 42km race will be held on the final day of the Summer Games that gets underway from August 5-21 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Kipchoge alongside Cherangany MP Wesley Korir and New York Marathon champion Stanley Biwott will be tasked to reclaim the gold in the men’s marathon that Kenya last won in Beijing 2008 Games thanks to the late Samuel Wanjiru.
Having had a scintillating season last year that saw him win the World Marathon Majors crown, Kipchoge told Capital Sport he has hit the 50 percent fitness level and is optimistic with the two months remaining he will be ready to compete.
The 31-year-old stepped up his preparations over the weekend at Safaricom Lewa Marathon which is described as one of the toughest course in the world, where he finished fourth in the half marathon.
“I am at 50 percent fit but there is nothing to worry because I am in the middle of my training. There is still two months to go so I will be ready. I have no weakness that my hinder me from giving my all, I am really good as always,” Kipchoge, who also holds the Berlin Marathon title affirmed.
“Running at Lewa was a good test after having done 40km on Thursday during training. It was a perfect build-up for Rio. I now return to my full training programme to work on finer details,” he added.
Kipchoge is not worried by stiff competition they will face from defending champion Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda and a strong Ethiopian team of Dubai Marathon champion Tesfaye Abera, Boston winner Lemi Berhanu and Feyisa Lelisa.
“We have a good team and I have no doubts that we will come back home with positive results. We are going to Rio to win and nothing short of that,” a confident Kipchoge underscored.
Kipchoge knows how it feels to win gold for Kenya in an international assignment, having claimed the men’s 5000m title at the 2003 Paris IAAF World Championships at the age of 19 years.
He will be returning to the Olympics for the third time but now as a marathoner after bagging silver in 5000m at Beijing 2008 and bronze during the 2004 Athens Games.
– IOC anti-doping rules –
However, as Kenya prepares for the Rio Olympics, the athletes will undergo a mandatory extra-doping tests before the games as ordered by the International Olympics Committee (IOC) after failing to have proper anti-doping control systems.
But that does not perturb Kipchoge who welcomed the move, saying he is ready to be tested anytime.
“We are in the hands of IOC so what they are saying we will accept. If it means being retested I have no problem with that. Cheating is not good because what follows is really disgracing. I want to urge my fellow athletes to avoid doping because it will come to haunt you later on,” the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games 5000m silver medallist stated.
Kenya’s marathon team that also include reserves Bernard Kipyego and Cyprian Kotut is in residential training camp in Iten alongside the women’s squad of World silver medallist Helah Kiprop, Visline Chepkesho and Jemima Sumgong.