The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Kemboi Delays Switch

Olympic and world steeplechase champion Ezekiel Kemboi has backtracked on his plans to transform from the track to road running.

Kemboi, who holds two Olympic gold medals, two world titles, two world silver medals, a Commonwealth Games gold medal and two silvers, said he was advised against quitting track by his coach Moses Kiptanui as well sponsors Nike.

"They told me to run for another year before shifting to marathon," revealed Kemboi. "I wanted to quit the track since I have everything there's on offer."

He said his focus now is on the World Championships set for Moscow, Russia in August this year, where he will be looking to retain the title he won in Daegu in 2011.

"I can't discuss the world championships in details since I am yet to start training but I will definitely be going to defend my title," he said.

The 3,000n steeplechase Maestro, however, said he will be glad if he bags another world title to equal the number of silver medals he has won in the event.

He also revealed that he is talking to the International Olympic Committee to allow him give President Mwai Kibaki the gold medal he won at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

"The IOC rules does not allow an athlete to give out his medal but I am talking to them to allow me to give mine to the President. Even if it is authorised later when he (President) has already retired, I will take it to his home as a gift from me and my family," he said.

Meanwhile, former 5,000m champion Eliud Kipchoge has officially switched to marathon. Kipchoge said he is done with track, where he ventured in 2003. He said he has given his career on track his best shot and it is now time for him to move on. " I had my time on track and I have no regrets," he noted.

"I did my first half marathon last year and I believe I am ripe for the 42-km race," he said. Asked whether he is up to the challenge, Kipchoge said it is all in the mind and nothing is impossible as far as he is concerned. " When you put your mind to it, I don't think anything can stop you," he said.

He said he is currently undergoing serious training in readiness for his second half marathon on Barcelona on February 15. Kipchoge said he plans to run his first marathon before the end of this year though he did not say where.

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