Nairobi, Dec 4: World marathon record holders Brigid Kosgei and Eliud Kipchoge say they are open for selection to represent Kenya at the Tokyo Olympic Games.
The two marathoners have left the world dreaming of how fast they can run and will be a major inclusion to the Olympics if Kenya settles on them to compete in Tokyo. Kipchoge became the first man ever to break two hours mark in Vienna, Austria in the INEOS 1:59 Challenge where he clocked 1:59.40. In Chicago, Kosgei set a new women's world record of 2:14:04. "I promise to deliver more and more. The Olympics are always in my mind," said Kosgei on Wednesday.
"However, it is not down to me, but Athletics Kenya to decide who to enter in the marathon at the Olympics." Kipchoge, also speaking in Nairobi on Tuesday, told reporters that he is focused on defending his Olympic marathon title in Sapporo, Japan, where the 42km road race and walking competition have been moved to away from Tokyo.
"I said if Athletics Kenya agrees to give me a chance I will be happy to honor it. The Olympics has always been part of my plans and my management knows as much. I will not miss competing for Kenya at the Olympics," said Kipchoge. Kenya won the Olympic marathon titles in Rio Games in 2016 through Kipchoge and the now banned Jemimah Sumgong.
In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the late Samuel Wanjiru won Kenya's first gold in the race. However, Athletics Kenya is open to the idea of Kipchoge and Kosgei representing the country in the Tokyo Olympics. Kenya will have three names to select in each category, women and men, from a reservoir of over 100 athletes, who have hit the qualifying mark.
These athletes must also be subjected to rigorous in-competition and out-of-competition doping tests to ascertain them being clean. This is after the country was placed under category A, which means its athletes are most likely to cheat. Other countries under the same category are Ethiopia, Ukraine, and Venezuela. "I am happy with the support and well-wisher messages that came in after the Chicago race. It was an incredible feeling," said Kosgei. "I promise to deliver more and more and make Kenya proud. I'm willing even to take the test like that of Kipchoge, the INEOS 1:59 Challenge," she added. (UNI-XINHUA)