20 April 2013

Uganda: Kiprotich Targets London Marathon Win

COACH Gordon Ahimbisibwe wants Stephen Kiprotich to use the same tactics that helped him win gold at the London Olympics.

"He should be part of the front pack but not in the lead until the final five kilometers. It's here that he should break away," advised Ahimbisibwe ahead of today's London Marathon.

On the eve of the Olympic marathon Kiprotich and Ahimbisibwe while going through the route, identified the best break away spot. Kiprotich followed the game plan to the letter and ended up striking gold.

Patrick Sang, who won silver medals for Kenya in the steeplechase at the 1992 Olympics and 1991 and 1993 World Championships, will this time be the man giving Kiprotich tips in London.

Sang has been coaching Kiprotich for three years and believes his runner can shine again in London.

Sang believes that the five months in which he has prepared Kiprotich for today's marathon could yield dividends. He is full of praises for Kiprotich. "He's a hard worker," said Sang. "He follows instructions, and is also willing to learn."

Kiprotich arrived in London on Tuesday and has since made it very clear that like at the Olympics last year, he is ready to take on the world's best.

"I don't have any pressure for me. I just feel proud. In the competition everything is possible. I always believe everything is possible," he told reporters.

Pacemakers will take the men's lead pack through half-way in a blistering 1:01:45. Double Olympic champion Mo Farah is one of the fast runners expected to boost the pace as he makes his debut in the race. Organisers have offered him 450,000 pounds (sh1.7bn) participation fees for entries in this race and next year's marathon.

The marathon has a sensational field, including reigning World Marathon Majors (WMM) champion Geoffrey Mutai (2:03:02 PB), world record holder Patrick Makau (2:03:38) and reigning Bank of America Chicago Marathon champion Tsegaye Kebede (2:04:38).

Others are London course record holder Emmanuel Mutai (2:04:40), and reigning London champion Wilson Kipsang (2:03:42).

But there is still a lot to inspire Kiprotich. There is a mouthwatering $205,000 (sh530m) up for grabs for anyone who wins the race in a world record.

London also provides him with an opportunity to improve on his WMM Series rating where $1m is split between the top scoring male and female athletes after two years. Kiprotich is third in the series at 25 points.

The Olympics, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York marathons form the series where the top finisher in each scores 25 points, second-15, third-10, fourth-5 and fifth-1.

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