Olympic Men’s Marathon 11:50 SS4
LONDON - World marathon champion Abel Kirui believes he could break the Olympic record set by his late compatriot Sammy Wanjiru in Beijing four years ago at the London Games on Sunday.
After winning Kenya’s first Olympic marathon gold medal in an Olympic record time of two hours six minutes 32 seconds, Wanjiru went on to break the course records in London and Chicago.
But his life began to fall apart and last year he jumped to his death from the first floor balcony of his home when his wife caught him in bed with another woman.
In an interview with Reuters television on Thursday, Kirui said Sunday’s race could be the fastest Olympic marathon yet if the conditions were favourable and the early pace fast.
“The Olympic record is what? Like 2:06?,” he said. “To beat 2:06 depends on the day so if the conditions are very good and the guys can run from the start with a good pace, it’s possible to run the Olympic record.
“It’s possible, depending on the weather on the day and how the race is being carried.”
Kenya’s strength is depth is such that they could afford to travel to London without Patrick Makau, who was left out of the team after setting the world record of 2:03:38 in Berlin last year.
Makau later said Kenyan officials had told him he would be selected for the Games. Instead, they picked Kirui, Wilson Kipsang, winner of this year’s London Marathon, and Emmanuel Mutai, who won in London last year.
“Makau is the world record holder but in Kenya we have got many, many athletes and sometimes it is very hard to choose,” Kirui said. “Sometimes we need to be patient, even me.”
Last year, Kenyan men won all six world marathon major titles, sweeping the medals in three, and setting course records in London, Boston, Berlin, Chicago and New York.