Kenyan marathon champions to defend titles in Moscow

2012-12-11 12:19:29 GMT2012-12-11 20:19:29(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

Kenya's world marathon champion Abel Kirui and Florence Kiplagat have confirmed their intentions to defend their titles during the 2013 World Championships in Moscow, Russia.

Both athletes were expected to wrest the Olympic gold medal in London, but failed. Kirui (2:08.27) had to settle for the silver medal after Uganda's Stephen Kiprotich 2:08.01 clinched gold while Wilson Kipsang had the bronze medal in 2:09.37. Kipsang had in April won the London Marathon.

"I have started training and will be moving to camp next week. The target is to run in London in April and then reserve the energy for the World Championships in August."

"The World marathon title is important and I must defend it. I will shelve any other plans to focus on this one," said Kirui on Tuesday in Kapsabet.

Kirui is still rueing the missed chance to clinch the Olympic marathon gold medal, which would have given him the deserved legendary status to hold both titles at the same time.

"All is not lost, Rio in 2016 is still a possibility and I can not shut out myself saying I will not be able to make it then. But this is Kenya and four years in marathon running is a long time. There are many younger runners coming through and it is getting tougher everyday."

"For the time being it is better to defend what I have," he said.

Kirui will not be the only one gunning for the Kenya ticket. Already World Marathon record holder Patrick Makau has said he will honour a call to represent the country after he was overlooked for the Olympic Games.

"I still want to run for Kenya. Maybe Moscow will be the place, I have not forgotten the issues that led to the Olympics in August, but that is done. I focus on the future," said Makau, who is also the Frankfurt marathon champion.

Women World champion Edna Kiplagat, who was a disappointing 20 at the Olympics, has her batteries charged, especially after she had a rest day following the cancellation of the New York marathon in November.

Kiplagat confirmed that defending her title in Moscow will be a priority and will also be running in London together with compatriot and defending champion Mary Keitany, Florence Kiplagat, Dubai marathon silver medallist Lucy Wangui Kabuu and Olympic marathon silver medallist Priscah Jeptoo.

"I will go to Moscow to defend my title. I still feel bad we did not run in New York, which means I have more energy. But I will see where to run as the year starts before focusing on the World championships," she said.

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