Janeth Jepkosgei & Abel Kirui jump to the defence of Eliud Kipchoge after Tokyo Marathon mishap

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ATHLETICS Janeth Jepkosgei & Abel Kirui jump to the defence of Eliud Kipchoge after Tokyo Marathon mishap

Joel Omotto 06:32 - 05.03.2024

Former world champions Janeth Jepkosgei and Abel Kirui have dismissed those writing off Eliud Kipchoge following his 10th place finish at the Tokyo Marathon.

Former 800m world champion Janeth Jepkosgei and two-time world marathon gold medallist Abel Kirui have lauded Eliud Kipchoge for showing great determination to finish the Tokyo Marathon despite placing 10th.

Kipchoge suffered his worst marathon loss since his first race over the 42km distance when he clocked 2:06:50 to finish a disappointing 10th in Tokyo, having come in as one of the favourites to win.

Following the result, Kenyans issued varied views over what they thought went wrong, with some even suggesting Kipchoge should consider retirement, but the former world champions feel that is wide of the mark as the marathon veteran still has a lot to offer.

“I am happy Eliud finished the race, which shows that he is still there and we still have hopes in him at the Olympics,” Jepkosgei told Daily Sport.

“He is the one showing the way to the young athletes. He finished well, 2:06 is not a bad time for Eliud because he is a great athlete,” added Jepkosgei, who won gold at the 2007 World Championships.

Kirui, world marathon champion in 2009 and 2011, was in awe of Kipchoge’s fighting spirit while dismissing those writing him off.

“Eliud has been a very good fighter and he showed his determination up to the end. Losing once is not a problem,” said Kirui.

With Kenya’s Benson Kipruto winning the race in a course-record time of 2:02:16, ahead of countrymen Timothy Kiplagat (2:02:55) and Vincent Ngetich (2:04:18), Kirui is thrilled with the fact that the country continues to produce world beating marathoners.

“I am happy Kenya is an athletics powerhouse. We have enough talent and we are very safe in terms of city marathons,” added the 2016 Chicago Marathon champion.

It was just the third time Kipchoge had finished outside the top two in his 11-year marathon career, following a sixth-place finish in Boston last year and his eighth placing in London four years ago.

The two-time Olympic champion will be seeking to silence his doubters at the Paris 2024 Olympics where he is bidding to become the first man to win three straight gold medals in a marathon.

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