Nairobi, June 6 (IANS) World marathon champion Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda is not sleeping on his laurel knowing that Kenya’s strong team will likely end his two-year reign as the king of the 42km race at the World Athletics Championships from August 22 to 30 in Beijing.
Kiprotich has twice beaten Kenyans in the distance race in the Moscow World Championships (2013) and the 2012 Olympic Games, reports Xinhua.
However, he feels Beijing will be a different stage as he seeks to become the second athlete after Abel Kirui to successfully retain the gold medal at the World Championships.
“I know it will not be easy. But I have done my work and will be ready for the battle. We train with them and I know how they run,” Kiprotich said on Friday.
Defending champion Edna Kiplagat (women) and world marathon record holder Dennis Kimetto are leading an elite team of Kenyans for the World Championships in August. There is also New York marathon champion Wilson Kipsang.
“I will be ready for the world championships. It is the first time for me, but I will be up to the task,” said Kimetto.
The team met in Nairobi on Friday to discuss their training program and which events they will compete in ahead of the Beijing challenge.
“We had a good meeting with them,” Athletics Kenya (AK) vice president David Okeyo said. “We will meet with all the other athletes in Eldoret and come up with a strategy on how to tackle the Ethiopians.”
However, Kenya is yet to decide if they will select two teams for the Africa Games and the World Championships. The Africa Games will be held from September 4-19 in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo.
“There is enough time between the two events for the athletes to recover. So we will discuss with the Africa Games steering committee and decide what is best for us,” said Okeyo.