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Olympics champ Jepchirchir finally included in marathon team for World Championships

Thursday, June 16th, 2022 07:16 | By
Peres Jepchirchir crosses the finish line to win the 2020 Olympics women marathon race in Tokyo last year. PD/ File

Olympic marathon champion Peres Jepchirchir has been included in the Kenyan team for the World Athletics Championships set for Oregon, USA next month.

Athletics Kenya (AK) senior vice president Paul Mutwii yesterday told People Sport that the association opted to include her to the team that was previously named on On April 7, when she was initially omitted, but insisted that the squad would still be led by defending champion Ruth Chepng’etich.

Mutwii said they had once again reached out to Jepchirchir, who is also hoping to defend her New York City Marathon crown on November 6, and a deal has been made.

“The ultimate goal is to send our best available athlete to Oregon,” said Mutwii.

“Nothing is cast on stone, changes will be injected where need arises. There is no reason to leave out Peres if she is available,” Mutwii told People Sport. Sources within the association told People Sport that Chepchirchir will be replacing Maureen Jepkemoi in the team but Mutwii failed to confirm or deny.

“More details will be communicated in due course,” added Mutwii.

Global show

Reached for comment, Chepchirchir who in April won the Boston marathon said it would be an honour to represent Kenya at the global showpiece.

“That is a question friends and fans have been asking me, why I am not in the Kenyan team. Now I can say things are looking good and it looks like I will certainly be racing in Oregon, I want to thank AK for the opportunity despite not initially being available, I hope to do well for my country,” said Chepchirchir who has a personal best of 2:17.16, placing her fifth fastest over the distance ever. In April AK named Chepngetich, 27 to lead the four-strong women’s team for Oregon, while Geoffrey Kamworor will contest his first major championship marathon as part of the men’s squad.

As Chepngetich got a wild card entry by virtue of being the defending champion, Kenya will be represented by seven athletes in the marathon events.

Chepngetich claimed the first gold medal of the World Championships in Doha in 2019, clocking 2:32:43 to gain her first major gold. She went on to win the Bank of America Chicago Marathon last October and then was just 10 seconds off her PB when she won the Nagoya Women’s Marathon in 2:17:18 last month – the second-fastest ever women-only marathon.

Others in the women marathon team are Judith Jeptum and Angela Tanui. Jeptum set a French all-comers’ record of 2:19:48 to win the Paris Marathon on Sunday, while Tanui won the 2021 TCS Amsterdam Marathon in 2:17:57.

After world medal wins in track, cross country and half marathon events, Kamworor will look to add further success to a marathon CV that so far includes two wins in New York and a PB of 2:05:23 set in Valencia in December.

Lining up alongside the three-time world half marathon champion and two-time world senior cross country winner in Oregon will be Olympic marathon fourth-place finisher Lawrence Cherono and Barnabas Kiptum, with Geoffrey Kirui named as a reserve.

Boston Marathon champion Evans Chebet  is also likely to be drafted to the men’s marathon team.

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