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Kipchoge targeting record London win

China Daily | Updated: 2019-02-22 10:10
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Eliud Kipchoge poses after winning the Exceptional Achievement Award at the Laureus World Sports Awards on Monday. REUTERS

Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge is firmly focused on retaining his London Marathon title in April.

The all-conquering 34-year-old is aiming for a record fourth victory in the English capital as he looks to add the titles he won in 2015, 2016 and 2018.

"This year I am purely concentrating on the London Marathon," Kipchoge said in Nairobi on Tuesday.

"I can say that the London course is beautiful and I am working hard to keep pushing the limits. I want to run a race that all the fans will truly enjoy."

Kipchoge broke the world record in Berlin last year by clocking 2:01:39-a feat that this week was honored with a Laureus Academy Exceptional Achievement award at a ceremony in Monaco. It is a discretionary honor that has only been handed out three times previously.

The previous recipients were swimming great Michael Phelps (2013), Chinese tennis legend Li Na (2015) and Italian soccer star Francesco Totti (2018).

"I would like to thank my fans around the world for all their support. I believe that a running world is a peaceful world, a sporting world is a healthy world and that a sporting world is an enjoyable world," said Kipchoge.

The Kenyan has also hinted at defending his Olympic title at the Tokyo 2020 Games. However, for now he is focused on his 2019 targets and will let his performances this year determine future race options.

Kipchoge is relishing the likelihood of a strong challenge from Britain's Mo Farah in London.

The 35-year-old Farah is a four-time Olympic gold medalist-twice over 5,000m and 10,000m-and the reigning Chicago Marathon champion.

"Farah is a great champion and has proved he can win a major marathon after his victory in Chicago. I had a memorable 2018, winning in London and Berlin, where I set a world record. I'm hoping that 2019 is just as good to me."

Kipchoge won the London Marathon in April last year in 2:04:17, almost a minute slower than his last mark on the same course in 2016 (2:03:05).

XINHUA in Nairobi

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