The last time Stephen Kiprotich competed in the Tokyo marathon he finished third. The Olympic and world champion returns to the Japanese capital today upbeat that he can put up a better show.
“I have adequately prepared and should be able to produce my best. I am not only fi t, but I must also commend my physiotherapists for a job well done,” stated the Uganda Prisons officer.
He departed from Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta airport yesterday morning after close to two months’ training in the Kenya highlands.
Among the big names Kiprotich will be battling on Saturday is last year’s Tokyo course record-setting winner Dickson Chumba (Kenya).
Also in contention will be Boston and New York City Marathon record holder Geoffrey Mutai and former Chicago Marathon course record holder Tsegaye Kebede.
Kiprotich finished fifth in his last 42 kilometre competition — the TCS New York marathon last November.
Mutai and Kebede are not new to Kiprotich. Mutai won the 2013 New York marathon where Kiprotich was sixth.
But Kiprotich edged the Kenyan in the same race the following year. Kebede won the 2013 Virgin Money London marathon where Kiprotich was also sixth.
Kiprotich paid the Ethiopian in same currency at the World Championships later in the year.
Kiprotich emerged champion with Kebede finishing fourth. Apart from the Uganda flag, Kiprotich will also be flying the east African flag.
He is together with other stars like Edna Kiplagat, Wilson Kipsang and Moses Gololo an ambassador of the Afrika Mashariki Fest — an organisation that advocates for East Africa’s integration.
James Bakama, The New Vision
Courtersy of in2eastafrica.net