Olympic 5,000m bronze medallist Thomas Longosiwa is confident Kenya can retain the Chiba Ekiden race tomorrow Friday. He said the calibre of athletes in the squad is so high they can replicate last year's performance.
"We have a very good team and we are defending the title we won last year," he added. Longosiwa who left on Monday night for the event expects stiff competition form the hosts Japan and Ethiopia.
"I know these will be the strongest teams in the race so we must be ready and we are relishing the challenge." The athlete who graced the event last year and termed the course as tough added: "Its tough but am now familiar with it. We are ready to do the country proud in Chiba."
Coach Shem Kororia expects the team to lower the time 2:04:40 time set last year. "The team looks good and we can lower the time but of more importance is that we aim to win," Kororia said.
Those in the squad include veteran two-time world cross country junior gold winner Philip Mosima, the 2008 world cross country bronze medallist Lucas Rotich and Dominic Musyimi in the men's line-up.
Africa senior cross country champion and Olympic 10,000m finalist Joyce Chepkurui will be attempting to bounce back after failing to finish in the London Olympics. Africa senior 5,000 and 10,000m champion Gladys Cherono is in the team and keen to add this title to her resume.