Kip­choge’s in a class of his own

It’s only a mat­ter of time be­fore Kenyan breaks world record, pos­si­bly cracks two hours

African Independent - - SPORT -

AFTER win­ning the Ber­lin Marathon for the sec­ond time in three years, Kenya’s Eliud Kip­choge was in a re­flec­tive mood on Mon­day as he of­fered an as­sess­ment of the race’s 44th edi­tion.

“Plan­ning to run a marathon is like life, any­thing can hap­pen,” Kip­choge said.

“You can run fast to­day and to­mor­row you run slow.”

Just about ev­ery­thing did hap­pen at the IAAF Gold La­bel race on Sun­day but hardly in the way most fans of the sport would have ex­pected.

Kip­choge’s two main ri­vals, Ke­nenisa Bekele and Wil­son Kip­sang, failed to fin­ish.

Kip­choge him­self was chal­lenged and even over­taken, al­beit briefly, in the clos­ing stages by Ethiopia’s marathon debu­tant Guye Adola, who then fin­ished as the sec­ond fastest of all time in his coun­try’s rank­ings.

All would have re­quired crys­tal ball gaz­ing of the high­est or­der.

Through ev­ery twist and turn of the race, one con­stant fac­tor was

CON­TIN­UED FROM PAGE 29 Kip­choge’s re­morse­less progress. No mat­ter the wet con­di­tions which put paid to hopes of a world record, the Kenyan switched his mis­sion target to con­cen­trate on adding to the ti­tle won here in 2015.

Time and again, whether it has been in win­ning the Olympic Games ti­tle in Rio last year or cap­tur­ing the top prizes in Lon­don, Ber­lin, Chicago and Ham­burg, he has dis­played a strength of will which is dis­tinc­tive.

In ret­ro­spect, he be­lieves the ex­pe­ri­ence of go­ing so close to break­ing two hours for the marathon dis­tance on Monza’s For­mula One cir­cuit in early May has strength­ened him both men­tally and phys­i­cally.

He be­lieves that process will boost fu­ture ef­forts to make marathon his­tory.

“It gave me a lot of strength men­tally, es­pe­cially when I crossed the fin­ish line and looked up and saw the clock show­ing two hours and 25 sec­onds, and I knew I was run­ning against the un­think­able.”

The topic of when, or if, the twohour bar­rier for the marathon can be bro­ken has been hotly de­bated.

Lukaku’s de­par­ture to Manch­ester United has cre­ated an at­tack­ing va­cancy and after find­ing the net in the mid-week League Cup win over Sun­der­land, Ni­asse came off the bench to score twice and earn Koe­man’s men a 2-1 win over Bournemouth. MO­HAMED SALAH (Liver­pool): Salah con­tin­ued his fine start to foot­ball life at Liver­pool by scor­ing his sixth goal in nine ap­pear­ances in an en­ter­tain­ing 3-2 vic­tory at What is clear is that Kip­choge con­tin­ues to be­lieve that he can

Leicester City. The Egypt winger squan­dered a solid op­por­tu­nity by shoot­ing wide after Emre Can’s shot came back off the post, but he atoned in the 15th minute by putting Liver­pool ahead with a pow­er­ful back-post header from Philippe Coutinho’s cross. SERGE AURIER (Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur): For­mer Paris Sain­tGer­main right-back Aurier had a full English Pre­mier League de­but to for­get as he was sent off in break the cur­rent world record of 2:02.57 set by his fel­low Kenyan Den­nis Kimetto in Ber­lin in 2014.

A re­turn to the Ger­man cap­i­tal – the race is sched­uled for Septem­ber 16 next year – for a third at­tempt is very much part of his plans.

“Ab­so­lutely, I would like to come back and try for the world record next time. I had come here to break the world record but the weather changed my plans.”

It’s likely that next year, without a global marathon cham­pi­onship, the pur­suit of the world record will in­ten­sify.

Whether he’s be­ing primed to chal­lenge both clock and ri­vals in a big city marathon or aim for cham­pi­onship ti­tles be­yond 2018, Kip­choge clearly be­lieves he will re­main a marathon force for some time to come.

“Ab­so­lutely, I have still good marathons in my legs, there’s no doubt about that.”

In an en­thralling race, Kip­choge staved off a sur­prise chal­lenge from Adola but missed out on his bid to set a new world record.

Prior to the race, Kip­choge, fel­low Kenyan Kip­sang and

Tot­ten­ham’s 3-2 win at West Ham United. Booked in the 64th minute for trip­ping up Andy Car­roll, the Ivory Coast in­ter­na­tional was shown the red card six min­utes later after launch­ing him­self into a wild and un­nec­es­sary chal­lenge on the same player. Ethiopia’s Bekele had all set their sights on break­ing Kimetto’s lead­ing marathon mark along the flat in­ner-city course.

In­stead, Kip­choge ended up be­com­ing em­broiled in a clas­sic tus­sle with the 26-year-old Adola, mak­ing his marathon de­but, and needed un­til the 41st kilo­me­tre of the damp course to shake off his last sur­viv­ing ri­val and cross the line in 2:03.32.

Adola fin­ished 14 sec­onds adrift of the win­ner, with his Ethiopian com­pa­triot Mosinet Gere­mew fin­ish­ing third in 2:06.09.

Kip­choge’s vic­tory was his sec­ond in Ber­lin, while Gla­dys Cherono helped recre­ate the roll of honour from 2015, with the Kenyan win­ning the women’s race in 2:20.23 to also record a sec­ond win in the event.

“I am happy to have run this race. The con­di­tions were not friendly be­cause of the rain,” Kip­choge told re­porters.

“Luck­ily there was not strong wind.

“I didn’t ex­pect Adolo but I am happy for him. This is sport.” – ANA and Reuters

FAYCAL FAJR, AMATH NDIAYE (Getafe): Moroc­can Fajr re­placed Sene­galese Ndiaye as a sec­ond-half sub­sti­tute and went on to pro­vide the free-kick from which An­gel Ro­driguez headed home his sec­ond goal as Getafe smashed Vil­lar­real 4-0. CEDRIC BAKAMBU (Vil­lar­real): Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo striker Bakambu fired Vil­lar­real’s best chance over the bar in the first half be­fore be­ing re­placed on the

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