Eyeing treble: Eliud Kipchoge promises third Olympic gold medal

Monday, April 15th, 2024 02:50 | By
Eliud Kipchoge celebrates after winning the 2022 Tokyo Marathon. PHOTO/COURTESY

Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge believes he has what it takes to win a historic third successive Olympic marathon gold medal in Paris this year.

The 39-year-old, who was victorious in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and at the delayed Tokyo Games in 2021, finished 10th in this year’s Tokyo Marathon in March. Ethiopia’s Abebe Bikila (1964) and East Germany’s Waldemar Cierpinski (1980) are the only other men to defend an Olympic marathon title.

“My huge expectation actually is to win the Olympics for the third time,” Kipchoge said as quoted by Reuters, adding: “I think I just got tired ... I don’t know what happened but its life, it’s sport, it’s the beauty of sport.”

On whether the marathon legendary, who will turn 40 in November, has plans to retire soon, he said: “If you can convince me that the moment I will be crossing the finishing line the whole world has become a running world then I will retire.”

Asked whether he could race at the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles, Kipchoge said: “You know in Kenya we say you don’t chase two rabbits at a time, you will miss all of them. You chase one. Therefore, the rabbit of the Olympic Games is what I am chasing now. After that I go back to the drawing board, see what’s on my bucket list, and start again to chase the next.”

On whether there was a possibility of an athlete breaking the two-hour marathon mark in an official race, he said: “We have a lot of talented athletes ... first is to dare to think to break, secondly is to dare to do it. I have shown them the way.”

In 2019 Kipchoge became the first person to cover the 42.2km marathon distance in under two hours, though the record was unofficial as he had teams of pacers and was not in open competition.

Kipchoge was named alongside two-time Boston Marathon champion Benson Kipruto, Timothy Kiplagat, Vincent Kipkemoi Ngetich, and newcomer Alexander Mutiso on Kenya’s marathon shortlist for the Paris Games, which begins on 26 July and ends on 11 August.

Kipruto won this year’s Tokyo Marathon in a time of two hours, two minutes, and 16 seconds, with Kiplagat and Ngetich completing the podium. Kipchoge finished over four and a half minutes adrift of Kipruto in Japan, but that result has not made him concerned about his chances in Paris on 10 August.

Kipchoge was in the French capital on Thursday as part of Kenya’s kit launch for the Games, and he will receive a financial reward should he defend his marathon title. In a first for the Olympics, World Athletics president Lord Coe has announced that all athletics gold medallists in Paris will earn $50,000 (£40,100) in prize money.

Kenya’s women’s squad saw the inclusion of Peres Jepchirchir and Olympic silver medalist Brigid Kosgei. Others are the reigning Boston and Chicago marathon champion Helen Obiri, Rosemary Wanjiru, Sharon Lokedi, and the 2019 World champion Ruth Chepngetich.

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