KAMPALA- World and Olympic champion Stephen Kiprotich will be one of the 14 elite runners that will line-up to take part in the Tokyo Marathon on Sunday.
This will be the Ugandan runner’s second appearance at this World Marathon Major (WMM) event having taken third place in a time of 2:07:50 at the 2012 edition.
That podium finish, where he beat Ethiopian great Haile Gerbreselassie, propelled Kiprotich to Uganda’s only second Olympic gold in London on August 12, 2012.
He will aim to get similar inspiration from Sunday’s race as he prepares to defend his gold at the World Athletics Championships at the Bird’s Nest Stadium in Beijing, China later in August.
“I have had satisfactory preparation for this race,” Kiprotich told Daily Monitor after he departed for the Japan capital on Tuesday. “After all the hard work, I am ready to compete on Sunday.”
In his last WMM, Kiprotich endured tough windy conditions to finish fifth at the New York Marathon back in November.
And according to the weather forecast, Tokyo is expected to be cloudy during the race time.
“The organisers here are saying the conditions will be good enough for action on Sunday,” Kiprotich, whose personal best (PB) stands at 2:07:20 - a national record, added.
With the Tokyo event set to have its strongest men’s elite field ever, Kiprotich is up against Kenyan Geoffrey Mutai and Ethiopian Tsegay Kebede who will be making their debuts.
Also in the fray is reigning champion and course record (2:05:42) holder Kenyan Dickson Chumba. The trio has their personal bests as sub-2:05.
There are another four men that have run faster than 2:07 in their careers including Olympic 10,000m bronze medallist Tariku Bekele, sibling to the famous Kenenisa Bekele.
2012 - 1st London Olympics
2013 - 1st Granollers Half-Marathon
2013 - 6th London Marathon
2013 - 1st Moscow W. Championships
2013 - 12th New York Marathon
2014 - 11th Paris Half-Marathon
2014 - 12th London Marathon
2014 - 3rd Great North Run
2014 - 5th New York Marathon
IAAF SILVER LABEL RACE - SUNDAY
2015 TOKYO MARATHON
(LIVE ON SS5, 3.05am)