Rio Olympics: Kiprotich Out to Defy Odds

Men’s Marathon 3:35pm

Four years ago, drug a few people gave chance to Stephen Kiprotich to win 2012 Olympics marathon in London. The 23years old, more about beat favorites Wilson Kipsang and Abel Kirui to cross the finish line in prime position.

That simply cemented his legacy not only as one of Uganda’s best athlete ever but also a force to reckon with in the marathon history. He followed the Olympic gold with a World championship gold medal in Russia in 2013.

Fast forward, find Kiprotich will be running against history today in Rio as he seeks to become only the third man to win the Olympic Marathon gold medal back to back, a record that has stood for 36years since Germany’s Waldermer Cierpinski in 1980. Cierpinski had also won gold at in 1976. The first athlete to attain the feat was Ethiopia’s Abebe Bikik who won in 1960 and 1964.

Since last year, Kiprotich has run in three marathons two in Tokyo and the 2015 Worlds. He posted a personal best 2:06:33 at last year’s Tokyo Marathon where he finished second before coming sixth at the 2015 Worlds clocking 2:14:42. In April this year Kiprotich finished fourth in Tokyo at 2:07:46.

However, it will not be a walk in the park for Kiprotich with a host of other runners who have posted better times in the last 2-3 years. Kenya’s trio of Eliud Kipchoge, Wesley Korir and Stanley Biwott has been looked at as favorites.

Besides, the Ethiopian trio of Tesfaye Abera, Lemi Berhanu, Fayisa Lilesa are not far from the medal bracket. 20 year old Ghirmay Gheberslassie from Eriteria is the other name you cannot write off.

Kenya’s Kipchoge has been regarded the overwhelming favourite to win in Rio. The second fastest man in Marathon history at 2:03:05, Kipchoge has had a blistering experience in marathon since changing from middle distance races in 2013.

Already having tested success in Olympics winning silver and bronze in 5000m in Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 respectively, the 31 year old runner has posted incredible times in marathons.

In his short career into marathon, Kipchoge has won six of the total seven marathons he has run including winning the London Marathon in April this year.

The other Kenyans, Biwott and Korir, the Member of Parliament for Cherangany Constituency are not far from Kipchoge in terms of speed. Biwott finished second behind Kipchoge in the London Marathon clocking his personal best 2:03:51.

Ethiopia’s Tesfaye Abera has also had an incredible year with his personal best of 2:04:24 at the Dubai marathon.

Fellow countryman Lemi Berhanu won the Boston Marathon in April this year and at just 21 years, he has a personal best of 2:04:33 registered at the Dubai marathon.

Kiprotich will be joined by Solomon Mutai who won bronze in Beijing 2008 and Jackson Kiprop as the three Ugandans that will be competing in the closing event of the track and field activities at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

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