By Kennedy Lang’at
Olympic marathon champion Jemima Sumgong will defend her title at the London Marathon scheduled to be held on the 23rd of April.
The 32-year-old Sumgong wrote history at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games when she became the first Kenyan woman to win the Olympic title in the marathon race.
Sumgong defied the odds last April when she recovered from a bruising fall to beat some of the world’s best in the British capital with a devastating finish.
She also defeated Ethiopia’s world champion Mare Dibaba in Brazil to confirm her status as the world’s top marathon runner of 2016.
Dibaba, who won bronze in Rio behind Bahrain’s Eunice Kirwa, will be one of Sumgong’s main rivals in London from a field that includes four women who have broken the 2 hour and 20 minutes barrier and nine women who have run quicker than 2 hours and 22 minutes.
The women’s elite line-up includes all three medalists from last year’s race, three of the top five finishers from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, four previous London Marathon champions, and the winners at last year’s Abbott World Marathon Majors races in Tokyo, Berlin, Chicago and New York.
The quickest on paper again is Mary Keitany who will be aiming to become the only fourth woman to win the London Marathon three times after completing a hat-trick of New York City Marathon titles last November.
The elite line-up also includes the 2016 Chicago champion Florence Kiplagat, and half marathon world record holder who was third here last year, Helah Kiprop.
The Olympic 5000m champion Vivian Cheruiyot will also make her marathon debut at the age of 33.