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Komon, Jepchirchir lead Kenya charge at Prague Half Marathon

IANS logoIANS 30-03-2017

Speaking in Nairobi on Thursday as she left for Prague, Jepchirchir said she has had good training and she is eager to lay down the gauntlet to her rivals, reports Xinhua news agency.

"I feel comfortable as I go for this race. I have done enough work in training and hopefully, it will count towards my victory," she said.

She was accompanied by Leonard Komon, fresh from his fourth finish at the Kampala World Cross Country Championships in Uganda.

Komon holds the world records at 10km and 15km and he will be trying to improve on his third-place finish in Prague from 2015.

Alongside the two, the organisers have also called in two Rio Olympic medallists -- Galen Rupp (USA) and Tamirat Tola (Ethiopia) -- to spice up the race.

The women's race features Jepchirchir, who clocked 1:05:06 hour half marathon world record performance in Dubai in January.

She will be challenged by the Prague event record-holder Violah Jepchumba, whose 1:05:51 hour clocking in the Czech capital last year was the fastest half marathon performance of 2016.

The race will include three other women who have run faster than 1:07:00. They are Joyciline Jepkosgei, who ran 1:06:08 in Ras al-Khaimah last month, former race record-holder Worknesh Degefa of Ethiopia, and Kenya's African Games 10,000m silver medallist Gladys Chesir.

The United States' Jordan Hasay and Maegan Krifchin are also in the field, along with Eva Vrabcova of the Czech Republic.

The men's field has Komon leading the onslaught and will face his biggest threat coming from another Kenyan, Barselius Kipyego who set a course record of 59:15 minutes in Czech Republic's town of Usti nad Labem last September on what had not previously been considered a fast course.

Olympic bronze medallist Galen Rupp and Tamirat Tola are also in the field. Tola finished third in the 10,000m at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and looks to be in top condition this year after running 2:04:11 hours to win in the Dubai Marathon in January.

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