By John Kwoba
NAIROBI, April 15 (Xinhua) -- The allure of being named in Kenya's World Championships team and chance to get revenge are inspiring London marathon champion Wilson Kipsang in his title defence on Sunday.
Kipsang, the Olympic marathon bronze medallist, returns to the British capital under pressure to win.
However, the chance to get even with Uganda's Stephen Kiprotich, the man who beat him at the London Olympics last August, and quest for a berth in the Kenya marathon team are wearing heavily on his shoulder.
They are two challenges he is prepared to take them in his strides, literally. "Running a big race like London always will put you under pressure, but I have prepared well. I'm in my top form.
"It will be wrong for me to rule out anyone pulling a fast one on me. The elite field is big and anyone there can surprise everyone and win. But I do not focus on what others can do, so I will give it my best. Nobody knows how good the other is. I don't know how Kiprotich has trained this season. But I have made up my mind, to make it to the Kenya team to the World championships in Moscow," Kipsang told Xinhua on Monday in Eldoret.
Kipsang's personal best time of 2:03.42 in Rotterdam in 2011 is four seconds off the world record mark of 2:03.38 by compatriot Patrick Makau set in Berlin in 2011.
But he holds London's course record at 2:04.40. Makau will also be running in London after he dropped off with a knee injury last year.
Of course the women champion Mary Keitany will not be around to defend her crown as she is in motherhood expecting her second child. But that does not rule out Kenya's quest to firm a grip on the event.
World Marathon Champion Edna Kiplagat returns to the city where he cemented her place in Kenya team two years ago when she wound up third behind Keitany in 2011.
She improved that show to second last year and hopes to be third time lucky when she lines up on Sunday.
"I run my own race. If Keitany is not there, it will not be easier either. There are other top runners to watch out for and that propels me to work harder and hopefully win the race," said Kiplagat Monday in Eldoret.
There will also be Olympic marathon silver medallist Priscah Jeptoo (2:20:14), Berlin Marathon winner Florence Kiplagat (2:19:44) and Gothenburgh marathon winner in 2011 Joyce Chepkirui.
Kenya's top three 42-kilometer runners - world record holder Patrick Makau (2:03.38), reigning London champion and Olympic bronze medallist Wilson Kipsang (2:03.42) and World Marathon Majors Geoffrey Mutai (2:03.02) - will battle it out.
Three-time London Marathon winner Martin Lel (2:05:15) and former London Marathon winner Emmanuel Mutai (2:04:40) are also in the mix.
Mutai (Geoffrey), who won Berlin Marathon last year, will be making his maiden stab in London, having won ING New York and Chicago marathons in 2011.
Geoffrey missed an Olympic slot after he dropped at the Boston Marathon last year because of high temperatures, which he was uncertain on how it was to affect his run.