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Boston marathon champion Kipyokei to defend her title

Diana Chemtai Kipyokei failed to continue to secondary school for lack of school fees but her running career has moved to her to the top of the world.

The reigning Ljubljana marathon bronze medalist surprised the world when she won the Boston marathon title on October 11th on the American soil.

But that is not enough for Mount Elgon born runner who wants to defend her title come next year for the second title in the World Marathon Majors.

“I was sure that, with my training I was going to finish on the podium but I did not expect to win the race after looking at the line-up since I was one of those athletes that had lower time and little concentration,” said Kipyokei who has started light training.

With many athletics events coming up in 2022 including the World Athletics championships and Commonwealth Games, Kipyokei has little focus on them but on retaining her title and if she will be selected to run for the country will be an added advantage.

“For now, my focus is to retain the Boston title next year in April since I have to be told. Since I have never worn the national colours, it will be good if I will be selected to represent the country. Marathon athletes are selected based on time and I have not achieved that yet,” said Kipyogei back at her home in Iten.

She led a 1-2-3-4 podium sweep for Kenyans with Ednah Kiplagat finishing second, former world cross country champion Mary Ngugi for third and Monica Ngige 4th before Ethiopian Netsanet Gudeta coming 5th.

Kipyogei won in 2:24.25, Kiplagat (2:25.09) Ngugi at 2:25.20, Ngige in 2:25.32 and Gudeta in 2:26.09.

Born in Kabuywo Village, Mount Elgon in Bungoma County, Kipyokei failed to join secondary education after sitting for her Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) in 2010 for lack of school fees, made her debut at the Ljubljana marathon where she finished third in 2019 timing 2:22.08, followed by a win at the Istanbul marathon the same year.

This year, she failed to finish the Prague half marathon after picking an injury at the 20km hence dropping off but that did not deter her from chasing the Boston title.

“I was motivated to run well in Boston after my injury was healed when I failed to finish the Prague marathon. I started preparing for the Boston marathon in June with hopes of a podium finish,” explained Kipyoei.

With the challenges of life, the 27-year-old Kipyokei said that her father did not raise the funds for three children in secondary school hence deciding to take up athletics as a career.

“We were three of us in secondary school at the same time and my father could not afford the school fees. Being the third born, I decided to take up athletics as a career and let others join secondary school and I am on top of the world,” she explained.

Additional reporting The Stars Newspaper

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