What you need to know:
- Marathon defending champ wants to cement his legacy and empower the youth.
- Kenya’s marathon team leaves the country for Sapporo on Monday.
Eliud Kipchoge, who will be defending his title at the Olympics, is no doubt the greatest marathoner of all time.
In spite of his great achievements, the world marathon record holder is not done yet. He hopes to cement his legacy at the 2020 Tokyo Games, where he will be participating in his fourth Olympic Games.
After 12 years of chasing a gold medal in track events, Kipchoge finally managed to win marathon gold during the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in Brazil. He said that Tokyo is a bigger mission than just defending his title.
“We are winding up training. I trust the race will go well. I will do my best to defend my title. But above all, I want to build my legacy. I want to win for a second time and empower the next generation,” said Kipchoge.
Indeed, it has been a long wait for the athletics legend after the Olympic Games were postponed last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
As part of his preparations for the Games, he competed in The “Mission Marathon” race in the Netherlands and won.
Kenyans and the whole world will be focusing on the men’s marathon that will be held in Sapporo city in Japan on August 8. Kenya faces star-studded Ethiopian foes.
Nation Sport interviewed Kipchoge after finishing his speed training at his base in Kaptagat, Elgeyo Marakwet County.
“When you see an athlete running, it’s not just about jogging, there are a lot of components and systems to work on in order to be fit to compete with the rest of the world,” he said.
Kipchoge said that when he made his Olympic debut at the Athens Games in 2004, he was only 20-years-old, and he won a bronze medal in the 5,000 metres race. He later improved to a silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Games.
Kipchoge failed to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, then the following year he switched to marathon and clinched victory in Hamburg Marathon.
Watching him train at the Global Sports training camp in Kaptagat, one can easily tell that he is a man thirsty for more success.
Kipchoge explains that when he competed in his first Olympics in 2004, he faced a big challenge when journalists wanted to interview him after he won the bronze medal. He said that he was not used to being interviewed.
“During my first experience at the 2004 Athens Games, the home of Olympics, I was still new in sports and also at a high level competition. Seeing a lot of journalists asking me questions after winning the bronze was also new to me. But I gradually gain experience. During my second Olympic appearance in 2008, I had total control,” added Kipchoge.
This year, Kipchoge will be lining up in Sapporo as a world record holder, and most importantly, as the first man to run the 42km marathon race under two hours.
Will he cement his legacy? Time will tell.The marathon team leaves for Sapporo on August 2, and the women’s team will taste the waters first on August 7.