Claudette Mukasakindi 14:30
AFTER a far from convincing display at the 2012 London Olympics Claudette Mukasakindi is determined to make amends when she competes in the Rio Olympic women full marathon today.
The 33-year old runner made her first Olympics outing four years ago, finishing 101st out of 118 competitors, clocking a time of 2:51:07. She attributed her dismal performance in lack of experience and inadequate preparations.
“I feel ready and confident to do better this time round, I prepared extensively for this race in Kenya, Italy and even in Rwanda and I think I have improved significantly. My target is to finish in better position compared to 2012,” said Mukasakindi.
Mukasakindi set her personal best time of 2:40:18 in 2012 when she clinched gold at the Cagliari Marathon in Italy. Last year, she came close to breaking it when she earned the Olympic qualification from the Firenze Marathon in Italy after posting 2:41:33.
Ethiopian Tiki Gelana, who will not be competing in Rio, is the Olympic defending champion.
She completed the course in an Olympic record-breaking time of 2:23:7 while Kenya’s Priscah Jeptoo finished second in 2:23:12 and Russian Tatyana Petrova Arkhipova took bronze after using2:23:29 in London.
The favorites for gold in Rio include; Kenyan Jemima Jelagat Sumgong and her compatriots Helah Kiprop and Visiline Jepkesho. Kiprop won this year’s Tokyo Marathon to take third place in the Series IX standings after winning world silver in Beijing, while Jepkesho is the 2016 Paris Marathon champion.
The Kenyans face formidable opposition from a trio of talented Ethiopians all capable of following in the footsteps of Gelana.
Current world champion, Mare Dibaba, 2015 London Marathon champion Tufa and this year’s BAA Boston Marathon runner-up, Tirfi Tsegaye, all have serious prospects of finishing among the medals.