Tue. May 28th, 2024

Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge is confident he can 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,” said Kipchoge.

Last week 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 begin on 26 July and end 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.

“I think I just got tired,” he explained.

“I don’t know what happened but it’s life, it’s sport. It’s the beauty of sport.”

On retirement and Olympic prize money
Kenyan marathon runner Eliud Kipchoge attends a Nike event in Paris on 11 April

Kipchoge was in Paris on Thursday as part of Kenya’s kit launch ahead of the Games

Kipchoge will turn 40 in November and he would not be drawn when asked if he could race at the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles.

“In Kenya we say you don’t chase two rabbits at a time, you will miss all of them. You chase one,” he said.

“So the rabbit of the Olympic Games is what I’m chasing now. After that I go back to the drawing board, see what’s in my bucket list and start again to chase the next.”

In the meantime, as questions persist over when he plans to retire, he has reiterated his commitment to inspire people of all levels to be active.

“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,” he added.

Kipchoge was in the French capital on Thursday as part of Kenya’s kit launch for the Games, and he will also 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.

Kipchoge believes the development will boost the sport in the long term.

“I don’t run because of money but I run because I want to perform,” Kipchoge said.

“It was a great idea for Seb Coe and World Athletics. For the young generations I think it’s a good idea to develop – it makes sport more interesting.”

By Joy

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