Gulf Today

Kenya name Kipchoge in marathon team for Paris Games


NAIROBI: Kenya’s double Olympic gold medallist Eliud Kipchoge and defending women’s champion Peres Jepchirchi­r were included Thursday in a star-studded marathon team to this year’s Paris Olympics, athletics officials said.

The east African track and field powerhouse halved a provisiona­l stacked squad of 20 athletes it named in December.

Only six of the 10 distance runners will make the final list for both the men and women’s team.

Kipchoge, 39, was named alongside two-time Boston Marathon champion Benson Kipruto, Timothy Kiplagat and Vincent Kipkemboi Ngetich. The 2023 Berlin marathon runner-up and newcomer Alexander Mutiso also made the cut.

Kipchoge is bidding to become the first athlete to win three Olympic marathon golds following his successes at Rio in 2016 and Tokyo in 2021.

Last month, he struggled to a 10th place finish at the 2024 Tokyo Marathon behind winner Kipruto (2:02:16) and Kiplagat (2:02:55).

The race was taking place less than a month ater world record-holder Kelvin Kiptum died when his car crashed into a tree in Kenya.

The women’s squad saw the inclusion of Jepchirchi­r and Olympics silver medallist Brigid Kosgei.

Others are the reigning Boston and Chicago marathon champion Helen Obiri, Rosemary Wanjiru, Sharon Lokedi and the 2019 World champion Ruth Chepngetic­h.

“The journey begins as we defend our crown,” Kenya’s National Olympic Commitee said on X.

Meanwhile, Russia’s two-times Olympic champion Abdulrashi­d Sadulaev will not be allowed to compete in the European OG Qualifiers in Baku ater United World Wrestling (UWW) on Thursday found new informatio­n about his support of the Ukraine-russia war.

The sport’s governing body said that the 27-year-old, who won gold at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro and at Tokyo 2020, failed to meet the eligibilit­y criteria set by the Internatio­nal Olympic Commitee (IOC) for Individual Neutral Athletes.

Relations between Russia and the IOC have worsened in the run-up to the Paris Olympics, starting on July 26 where Russian and Belarusian athletes will compete as neutrals, without their flags and anthems, and be excluded from the opening parade, because of the war in Ukraine.

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