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Kiplangat's sole focus is on London Marathon

13 January 2014, 14:03

Nairobi - Berlin marathon champion Florence Kiplagat has ruled herself out of the Africa Cross Country Championships in Kampala, Uganda in March.

Instead, the 26 years old (she turns 27 on February 27), will be eying to conquer the London marathon course in April, where she has failed twice to clinch the gold medal.

"I have no intentions of running the Africa cross country championships. Kenya has a huge pool to draw from and whoever will be picked will be equal to the task. I have already done my part in that discipline," Kiplagat told Xinhua Saturday in Nairobi.

This was after she ran from gun to tape to win the Kenya Police Cross Country Championships in Nairobi.

Kiplagat, a former World Cross Country Champion (2009 in Amman, Jordan) said she is keen to improve her personal best time in the 42km distance and was only using the race to test her sprint skills.

Kiplagat had little opposition after her closest rival Mary Wacera threw in the towel with almost one lap to go to see her cruise to the winner's podium in the 8km senior women's race in 27:44.0.

With soaring temperatures and windy condition, athletes had to brace for the worst as they represented their respective departments in the Kenya Police cross country championships, which is being used to pick the department team to the national championships next month.

Kenya, who are the defending champions of the Africa Cross Country Championships, intends to send a squad of 24 athletes in Junior women's 6km, Junior men's 8km, Senior women's 8km and Senior men's 12km distances.

The men's 12km senior race was won by Geoffrey Kipsang, a former World cross-country champion. He clocked 36:45.7.

Kipsang had to rely on his strong sprint to dethrone New York Marathon Champion Geoffrey Mutai, who settled for the second spot in 37:25.0 with Augustine Choge, a veteran of the 1,500m distance third in 37:25.3 edging out former World Junior 10,000m champion Josephat Bett (38.00.23).

Kipsang, who was third at the Berlin Marathon, also threw a caution to the wind by declaring that he is focusing on the London Marathon and will give the Africa Cross Country Championships in Kampala a bye.

"I will certainly be going for the London Marathon. But that does not mean that I will not be happy to run in Kampala. If I will be picked, then I will consider my programme and I may run in Kampala."

"However, the main focus is to do well in the marathon. I have to win because since turning to the discipline, I have failed to win, coming in second and third. It is time I won in London," Kipsang said.

With Kiplagat clocking 27:44.0 to win the women's 8km race, World Junior 1,500m champion (2006), Irene Jelagat, overcame a fall and a bruised left leg in the opening mark to finish second in 28:28.7. Third place was won by last year's Kass Marathon's 12km silver medallist Edith Chelimo.

"The race was so easy for me because my body is now in shape," said Kiplagat. He said her aim in 2014 is to make a mark in the World Half Marathon championship she won in 2010.

"I am hoping to break the record. I am currently stepping up my training in Iten and hopefully my plan would go through."

Kiplagat's next race will be the Barcelona Half Marathon on February 16 and the London Marathon.

- Xinhua

Tags athletics

Mikel: I respect Conte's decisions

26 October 2016, 20:51

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