After Eliud Kipchoge famously gate-crashed their much vaunted showdown in London last month, world record holder, Dennis Kimetto and his forerunner Wilson Kipsang have another chance to go hammer and tongs at each other after being named in Kenya’s provisional marathon squad of 11 for the summer Beijing World Championships on Monday.
The women’s team rolled out by Athletics Kenya (AK) is headlined by two-time winner and defending champion, Edna Kiplagat, 35, who will seeking an unprecedented hat-trick at the biennial showpiece in the Chinese capital.
“A meeting between AK, the athletes, and the technical team will be held on June 3rd 2015 at 2.30pm at Riadha House to discuss further details regarding the training program and the preparations for the team,” the federation wrote in their statement.
Kipchoge, 30, the 2003 world 5000m champion was the biggest omission in the men’s list despite forcing the more illustrious Kipsang (2:04:47) and Kimetto (2:05:50) to accept the minor podium places at the April 26 London where he won in 2:04:42 after an epic contest against the titleholder.
“We are waiting for the selection of the team which I think the sooner the better. I would love to go for the World Championships if I’m included since I’ve never been there,” London 2012 Olympics bronze medallist Kipsang, 33, said upon return from the British capital where he surrendered the title he won last year in a 2:04:24 course record.
“I’m really happy about my achievement since I’m still at the top. I did a lot of work to break from the group despite becoming second. I have ran the fastest times in six (WMM) in fastest times in under 2:05,” Kipsang added on his ability to run for the gold medal if given a chance.
The New York Marathon champion and last season’s World Marathon Majors winner set the world record of 2:03:38 at the 2013 Berlin race before his training partner and Volare Sports teammate, Kimetto, 30 set the jaw dropping 2:02:58 existing standard last September at the same course.
Hamburg winner, Lucas Rotich, who triumphed in weather beaten conditions with 2:07:17also on April 26 and is a training partner of Kipchoge made the provisional team as Kenya seeks to wrest the title away from Uganda’s Stephen Kiprotich who took it in Moscow.
Rotich, Kiprotich and Kipchoge incidentally share the same coach, Patrick Sang besides being training partners.
Paris Marathon winner, Mark Korir, 30, who stormed to his career best 2:05:49 in the French capital with victory on April 12, Felix Kiprotich, 27, the second finisher (2:06:59) at the Seoul Marathon and Luka Luboke, the likely reserve who was second in Paris in 2:07:20 round off the men’s team of six.
Kiplagat has the chance to eclipse two-time champion, Catherine ‘The Great’ Ndereba and go for an unprecedented treble after tying the legend when she ran to the crown at the 2011 Daegu and 2013 Moscow editions.
Despite her London title defence crashing in an 11th finish in 2:27:16, Kiplagat experience could prove vital in a squad shorn of the star quality witnessed in latest Kenyan squads including the one she led to the first ever podium sweep in 2011.
New York Marathon runner-up, Jemimah Sumgong who clocked 2:24:23 for sixth in London, Tokyo silver medallist Helah Kiprop, 30, who raced to a lifetime best of 2:24:03 in February, Visiline Jepkesho, 27, the Paris third finisher (2:24:44) and Janet Jelagat, 26, who ran 2:26:31 for fourth in Prague round the women’s interim list for Beijing.
AK overlooked female luminaries such as Priscah Jeptoo, the Olympics and 2011 Worlds silver medallist, Mary Keitany, the two-time London and New York champion and former Boston and 2011 Worlds bronze medallist, Sharon Cherop.
1. Wilson Kipsang
2. Dennis Kimetto
3. Mark Korir
4. Felix Kipchichir Kiprotich
5. Lucas Kimeli Rotich
6. Luka Lokobe Kanda
1. Edna Kiplagat
2. Jemimah Jelagat Sumgong
3. Helah Kiprop
4. Visiline Jepkesho
5. Janet Jelagat Rono