In Summary
  • Their management teams, however, should be wary of their athletes running the risk of burn out by participating in more than one race prior to the Games.
  • However, the beauty is the selected athletes are all professionals and know what they want.

For the first time in the history of the marathon race at the Summer Games, Kenya will be seeking to defend both the men’s and women’s titles at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Eliud Kipchoge and the now-disgraced Jemimah Sumgong completed a rare double at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, sweeping both the men’s and women’s marathon titles.

Athletics Kenya took a leap of faith in naming the marathon team early and without a doubt, it is the most formidable group of road runners that Kenya has ever taken to an Olympic.

Defending champion and world record holder Kipchoge leads the stellar group of men marathoners with Vivian Cheruiyot set to make her Olympic marathon debut in the Tokyo Games that begin on July 24.

Besides Kipchoge, the men’s team also has debutant Chicago Marathon champion Lawrence Cherono, world silver medallist Amos Kipruto, 2016 World Half Marathon silver medallist Bedan Karoki, and African Games Half Marathon winner Titus Ekiru.

Material and logistical support

Karoki and Ekiru are reserves. The women’s squad is even more lethal.

It consists of women marathon record holder Brigid Kosgei, world champion Ruth Chepng’etich, Vivian. The back-ups are Sally Kaptich and Valary Aiyabei.

With the selection process done and dusted, the focus now shifts to the athletes’ preparations to ensure they are in tip-top shape for the race slated for Sapporo.

A six-month window period is enough time for any world class athlete to ensure he or she is in good form.

The National Olympic Committee of Kenya should provide material and logistical support for the athletes and their coaching staff as they prepare for what is always the most gruelling race at the Olympics.

Setting up a camp is arguably the best way for the athletes to prepare to avoid the daily distractions of life.

It is advisable for the athletes to run test races early, probably before April to gauge their form before the Olympics.

Their management teams, however, should be wary of their athletes running the risk of burn out by participating in more than one race prior to the Games.

However, the beauty is the selected athletes are all professionals and know what they want.

As an athletics enthusiast, I can’t wait for the two races because they are unpredictable. In fact, for betting fans, it will be advisable to keep off the races lest you lose. But one thing is for sure: Kenyans will start favourites!

Korir is the chairman of Athletics Kenya’s nairobi branch. barnabakorir@yahoo.com