Kenyan Abel Kirui focused on finishing on the podium in Fukuoka Marathon

Double world marathon champion Abel Kirui will highlight the Fukuoka Marathon.

The former Olympic Games marathon silver medalist said he will be targeting the podium this time round after failing last year due to an injury.

Kirui finished 5th in 2:07.38 during the race won by Israeli Maru Taferi last year in 2:06.43. Kenyan duo Vincent Raimoi (2:07.01) and Michael Githae (2:07.28) took second and third positions respectively.

“It has been 18 years of running and I am still keen to improve on my last year’s position. Unlike last year when I had an injury, this time round, I am all set,” he added.

The former Chicago Marathon champion said he has been in the career for long because of his discipline and hard work.

“I have trained well this time around here in Iten under the guidance of veteran coach Renato Canova and I have this good feeling that I will finish in the top three positions,” he said.

Kirui, who won the 2012 Olympic Marathon silver medal, said his ambition to represent the country at next year’s Olympic Games in Paris, France is still alive. He said he is still keen to qualify for the Summer Games.

His prayer is to run well in Fukuoka and even get a slot for the Tokyo Marathon next year.

The Olympic Games are a huge opportunity for any athlete and urged his compatriots to take the opportunity seriously if granted the chance.

“If you are selected in Team Kenya please strive to get medals because that is why you are there. This is an opportunity of a lifetime,” he said.

The man, who won back-to-back world marathon titles in 2009 and 2011 in Berlin and Daegu respectively, urged Athletics Kenya to support the athletes by offering better logistical plans.

“Paris will be very competitive and we must all plan early enough,” said Kirui who won the Chicago marathon in 2016 before finishing second the following year.

The senior police officer said he has been able to run for a long time because he is never driven or excited with the earnings.

posted Thursday November 16th
by Emmanuel Sabuni