Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Keitany read to end Kenya jinx at Olympics women marathon

Mary Keitany of Kenya and her son recieve a trophy from Prince Harry (L) during 2012 London Marathon in London, UK, April 22, 2012. Mary Keitany won (Photo File Xinhua)

By John Kwoba

July 30 (Xinhua) -- Kenya made history in Beijing four years ago when it ended the jinx in men's marathon with Samuel Wanjiru winning gold.

Until 2008, Kenya was still waiting for its first men's marathon medal despite the country boosting of the best talent in the road race distance. Similarly, Kenya was yet to feel
the texture of women's gold at the games, ever since its debut in 1956.  Twice the country has come close to lifting the women's marathon title - in Beijing and Athens - but
Catherine Ndereba, missed it slightly taking only managing to win silver.

However, this is bound to change in London as Kenya parades some of the best athletes in the 42km distance. London marathon champion Mary Keitany carries the country's
hopes. "I have been in training and know the type of expectations Kenyans have ahead in Olympics," she said. "It will not be easy, but I too does not train or enter a race
worried or looking at what the opponent is planning. I only focus on my own strength and I know I can win that gold."

Keitany will not be a lone ranger chasing gold for Kenya. However, her quick time and consistence has portrayed her as the steel around which the silk of Edna Kiplagat, the
world marathon champion, and Priscah Jeptoo, the London marathon bronze medalists, will be wrapped on.It will be the fourth time that Kiplagat will be pulling on the
Kenyan jersey, but the world marathon champion has never felt the pressure and aspiration of a country as is the case of the London Olympics."It is an honor to compete for
Kenya in the Olympics. It is not everyday that one gets the chance to run for Kenya, let alone at the Olympics. So for me to get this opportunity, I really appreciate."We have
very many athletes and some are very good. Better than me. But I was picked and the expectation is high. I do no plan to desert them," she said.

The trio run in London marathon in April. They ruled the roost with Keitany taking gold ahead of Kiplagat while Jeptoo was third. Now they are dreaming of repeating the same
in London on Aug. 5 when the women marathon race will be run. "The team of marathon women is strong, just like the others in camp. But we are hungry for this marathon
gold. If you are dominating in big city marathons, it is certainly not too much to ask for this gold in London," said Kinyua.Kenya has over 10 runners in the top 30 this season
in marathon. Three of the top six worldwide will be in London and hopefully, the athletics officials say gold will finally be delivered to Nairobi. (Xinhua)

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