Former world record holder Wilson Kipsang returns to defend his title at the 12th edition of the Tokyo Marathon Sunday.
Kipsang, experienced mixed fortunes after his 2017 victory in Tokyo, dropping out of Berlin in September but bouncing back to finish second at the New York City Marathon in November.
Kipsang is aiming to break World record in Tokyo Sunday with a goal time of 2 hours 02 minutes and 50 seconds.
Kipsang’s main competitors are Ethiopian Tsegaye Mekonnen, his compatriot Feyisa Lilesa, the 2016 Olympic silver medalist, and Kenyan Dickson Chumba, whose 2 hours 04 minutes 32 seconds personal best was set in the 2014 Chicago Marathon.
Chumba won in Tokyo that year and has finished third in each subsequent edition. Other contenders include Kenyan Vincent Kipruto, Gideon Kipketer, and Amos Kipruto.
Former winners Helah Kiprop from Kenya and Ethiopia’s Birhane Dibaba lead the women’s field. Others runners include Kenyan Purity Rionoripo, Ruti Aga and Shure Demise of Ethiopia.
In its 11-year history, no runner has won the Tokyo Marathon more than once.
Separately, national athletics team to this year’s World Indoor athletics Championships is optimistic of bagging medals in the event set to be held in Birmingham City between 1st and 4th of next month.
Head coach William Tanui remained optimistic his team will weather the storm and post better performance to eclipse the two bronze medals won in Portland, USA in the 2016 edition.
The Kenyan team will be led by former World Indoor 3,000 metres champion Helen Obiri. In Istanbul in 2012 Obiri won Gold medal in the event beating Meseret Defar of Ethiopia to the second spot.
In Birmingham Obiri will face stiff competition from the reigning champion Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia.
Kenya has named Obiri together with Beatrice Chepkoech and Margaret Nyairera in 800 metres race. Ethiopia will see Dibaba double up in 1,500 metres and 3,000 metres.
The IAAF has confirmed that with 618 athletes from 145 countries will take part in the global event and it will be the biggest congregation of elite runners for the four day championships.
A total of 547 athletes from 148 countries took part in the event two year’s ago in Portland, USA.