Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Kenyan Olympic marathon team announced

Today Athletics Kenya (AK) announced a formidable team for the Beijing Marathon.

The men will be: Robert Cheruiyot (4 time Boston winner), Martin Lel (3 time London winner) and Samuel Wanjiru (Fukuoka winner and coached by Olympic Silver Medallist Koichi Morishita). The reservers are Luke Kibet (World Champion) and William Kipsang (2008 Rotterdam winner)

The women's team looks slightly less formidable and is headed by Catherine Ndereba (World Champion from Osaka and Olympic silver Medallist) who is joined by Martha Komu and Salina Kosgei with Rita Jeptoo as reserve.

It will be interesting to see if the team learn the lessons of preparation for warm/humid conditions. All too often Kenya's marathon runners have underperformed at major championships. The omens are good with all of the men stating in recent weeks a desire to run in Beijing. All three are shrewd business men and understand the value of an Olympic medal. As for previous experience, well Cheruiyot was 4th in the hot 2007 Chicago race and Wanjiru has lived in Japan for several years and is used to the asian summer. While on the women's team Catherine Ndereba has a proven hot championship record with her Athens and Osaka.

So top marks to AK for getting the selection right. With Mubarak Shami (formerly Richard Yatich) of Qatar and Viktor Rothlin both showing good form this year and strong Japanese and Korean teams it should be quite a race.

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