Former Boston Marathon champion Geoffrey Kirui said he is not under pressure to defend his IAAF World Marathon title set for next in Doha, Qatar.
Kirui who won the title in 2017 during the world athletics championships in London was named by Athletics Kenya to represent the country, competing in the marathon alongside former Seoul and Roma marathon champion Amos Kipruto, Laban Korir, Ernest Ng’eno and two time Paris marathon winner Paul Lonyangata to fly Kenyan flag in men while two time world champion Edna Kiplagat, Ruth Chepngetich, Sally Chepyego and Visiline Jepkesho will marshal forces in women race.
We met up with Kirui in training under the watchful eye of coach Joseph Cheromei along Naiberi-Kaptuli road, as the man looked sober, well prepared for the race to deliver another gold for Kenya in the 42km distance.
“As a champion, there is pressure from fans, the country and the deep inside yourself to win gold because you did it and the hopes are alive too just like any other champion to win back to back,” said Kirui.
The former world junior 10,000m bronze medalist said the preparations are good hoping for better results in Doha.
“I am mentally prepared for the race now that we have enough time to compete at the championships. The preparations started in earnest and I have hope to claim the title,” added the 2011 Africa 10,000m champion.
Kirui won the 2017 Boston marathon title but failed to defend in 2018 and finished 15th at the 2013 world cross country championships.
His counterpart Kipruto, making debut in Kenya team is optimistic too to win gold in Doha.
“I thank God for the task I have been given ahead of me to run for Kenya team. It is good for me to represent Kenya at the world championships in Doha. This is the first time to run for Kenya and I was really waiting for this opportunity since I have been training so hard for such time to fly country’s flag,” said Kipruto, the second finisher at the 2018 Berlin marathon.