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Kenya's Chepkirui skips CWG, eyes Istanbul Half Marathon title

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IANS Nairobi
Kenya's Joyce Chepkirui has opted not to defend her 10,000m gold medal at the Commonwealth Games (CWG) and instead will be running in the Istanbul Half Marathon on April 8.
Chepkirui, 30, like many elite runners from Kenya, has shunned the Club Games, which are only limited to athletes from countries formally colonised by Britain, and will take her assignment in Turkey, where she will be gunning for a fast time, reports Xinhua news agency.
"I have no intentions of breaking the World Half Marathon record. However, it is my intention to run a fast time and hopefully win the race. But should the record fall in, then why not take it," she asked.
Kenya's Joyciline Jepkosgei took one second off her own world record in Valencia in October last year when she clocked 1:04:51 to win the race.
Chepkirui last represented Kenya at the 2015 World Half Marathon in Nanning, China, where she finished fifth clocking 69:30. Her personal best time in the 21km distance is 66:18, which she set in Prague in 2014.
"The challenge in Istanbul is stiff and that is what you expect in this class of competition. But I focus on my own strength and strategy to win," said Chepkirui here on Saturday.
The former Africa 10,000m champion will have to contend with a horde of runners eyeing the Istanbul title including Turkey's Esma Aydemir, who leads the home group.
The two will have to deal with a strong field led by Lucy Cheruiyot and Sarah Chepchirchir among others. Ethiopian challenge leader will be Roza Dereje Bekele.
Kenya's foreign legion, who have ditched their passport for Turkey's citizenship will lead the men's race led by Kaan Kigen Ozbilen, Ali Kaya, Polat Arikan Kemboi and Aras Kaya. They will face Evans Kiplagat who runs for Azerbaijan.
From Kenyans among others there will be Leonard Langat, Albert Kangogo and Evans Cheruiyot while Ethiopians challenge will be from Feyisa Lilesa, Amdework Tadese and Asefa Tefera.
--IANS
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First Published: Mar 31 2018 | 9:08 PM IST

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