NAIROBI, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) — Rome marathon bronze medalist Paul Kios Kangogo and former Barcelona marathon champ Valary Jemeli have warned their rivals to expect a bruising battle as the Kenyans take on Ethiopian opponents at the Beijing marathon on Sunday.
Speaking in Nairobi, Kangogo who has a best time of 2:09:20, said he has overcome his injury concerns and is ready to return to the winner’s podium in the Chinese capital.
However, it will not only be the win he is targeting but to improve on his best time and attack the course record of 2:07:16, which was set five years ago by Ethiopia’s Tadese Tola.
My training has gone well and everything is fine. I have pushed my body to the limit and am happy, I have come through without any problems. I can say am in-form. I know there will be a strong Ethiopian challenge including the past champions, but running a marathon is down to your own strength and strategy and past record count for less,” Kangogo told Xinhua, Thursday in Nairobi.
The Kenyan has blown hot and cold in the last two years, mainly due to injury and hopeful, after returning to fitness in April, he will be consistent to string together another podium finish.
He however, will be up against the 2014 Beijing marathon champion Fatuma Sado, Tola Dibaba (2:06:17) and Abayneh Ayele (2:06:45) who will be running his third race in China this year.
He finished second in 2:14:13 at the Chongqing marathon in March and went on to take third place in Dongying in 2:13:47.
There is also Ethiopia’s Seboka Negusse (2:09:44) winner at the Hannover marathon in April and Xiamen marathon champion Dejene Debela (2:07:10).
Reigning champion Meselech Beyene of Ethiopia will be the big obstacle against Kenya’s Jemeli’s title hopes in Beijing.
No Kenyan woman has ever won the Beijing marathon and Jemeli wants to hit two birds with one stone, break the jinx and claim the title and also win it in a new course record.
The 27-year-old is the fastest woman on paper with a career best of 2:20:53 from her third finish at the 2017 Berlin marathon.
Prior to that performance in the German capital, the rising Kenyan emerged triumphant in four straight marathons in Eldoret, Barcelona, Valencia and Prague, improving her best time on each occasion.
Her winning marks in Valencia and Prague remains as the course records and she also proved her worth in 2018 with a 2:22:48 clocking in Nagoya where she finish second.
Other runners include Fatuma Sado, Mulu Seboka and Amane Gobena, who are from Ethiopia.