What you need to know:
- Kenya won both the men and women’s Olympics marathon titles with disgraced Jemimah Sumgong going for the women’s gold medal at the 2016 Olympics.Sumgong has since been banned for a doping offence.
- Mutwii disclosed that they will liaise with the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) on how best to prepare the team.
The 2020 Valencia Marathon winners Peres Jepchirchir and Vincent Kipchumba have been included in Kenya’s marathon team for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Making the announcement Tuesday, Athletics Kenya senior vice president, Paul Mutwii, disclosed that Kenya will be represented by four athletes each in the men and women’s categories.
Jepchirchir, the World Half Marathon champion and Half Marathon World record holder, now joins World Marathon champion, Ruth Chepngétich, Marathon World record holder, Brigid Kosgei and multiple World champion and 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic 5,000m gold medalist and 10,000m silver medalist, Vivian Cheruiyot.
Kipchumba will team up with Olympic Marathon champion, Eliud Kipchoge, World Marathon bronze medallist, Amos Kipruto and 2019 Boston Marathon winner Lawrence Cherono.
Four athletes, who were named as reserves in the original team that was named in January last year before the Tokyo Olympics were postponed owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, have been dropped.
They are Valary Ayabei and Sally Chepyego in the women’s team and Titus Ekiru and Bedan Karoki in the men's side.
Asked why they have settled on four athletes in each team, Mutwii said: "It's a decision we have made and we are certain they will deliver outstanding victories."
The delayed Summer Olympics will be staged from July 23 to August 8, but while the track and field events will be held at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, the race walk and marathon events will be at Odori Park in Sapporo, 1,167.7km from the Japanese capital.
Jepchirchir, 27, recaptured the World Half Marathon title with victory in Gdynia, Poland on October 17 last year.
Her time of 1 hour, 05 minutes and 16 seconds saw her lower her own women’s only half marathon world record by 18 seconds within six weeks.
Jepchirchir, the 2016 world half marathon champion, had on September 5 shattered the world record with a new time of 1:05:34 in Prague.
That saw her get nominated for the 2020 Female World Athlete of the Year award.
On December 6, 2020, Jepchirchir closed the year in style, running the fifth fastest time ever in marathon with victory in Valencia (2:17:16), a feat that saw her seal her place in Team Kenya for the Olympics.
The 30-year-old Kipchumba had a superb 2019, winning two marathon races in Amsterdam in a personal best of 2:05:09 and Vienna City before finishing second at London Marathon on October 4 last year, missing to better his personal best by 33 seconds.
Kenya won both the men and women’s Olympics marathon titles with disgraced Jemimah Sumgong going for the women’s gold medal at the 2016 Olympics.Sumgong has since been banned for a doping offence.
Mutwii disclosed that they will liaise with the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) on how best to prepare the team.
“The athletes can continue training individually before we roll out soon,” said Mutwii, adding that NOC-K had instructed them to prepare sprinters for an early camp.