Sports

Kenyan Duo, Kemboi, Kipngetich Hope to Break the Duck in Great Ethiopian Run

Addis Ababa — Kenya will be out to break its duck in the 21st edition of the Great Ethiopian Run Sunday in the streets of Addis Ababa.

The pair of Cornelius Kemboi and Shadrack Kipngetich will fly the Kenyan flag as they attempt to become the first East African nation to win the legendary race that is championed by the Great Haile Gebrselassie.

Last year, Kenyans could only manage to finish 21st, 27th and 35th respectively (Solomon Boit, Evans Kipkemei and Kennedy Kimutai).

With a deep field entered this year, headlined by defending champions in both men and women (Abe Gashaw and Tsigile Gebreselama), the Kenyans will face stiff challenge from Ugandans Rodgers Kibett and Daniel Kibett as well as three Eritreans in the men’s race.

Kemboi and Kipngetich had an opportunity of getting a feeling of Ethiopia’s high altitude weather conditions, when they trained early morning in Entoto which is the highest peak on the Entoto Mountains, that overlooks the city of Addis Ababa, reaching 3,200 meters above sea level.

“I am here to take the title home, it’s a new course to me but with the training I have done I am confident of winning, the Ethiopians are strong but that will not deter my ambitions, this race will also prepare me for my season,” Kemboi, who was the pace setter at Valencia 10km said during the pre-race Press Conference.

His compatriot, Kipngetich voiced that he is looking forward for a 1-2 Kenyan finish.

“I will work closely with my brother Kemboi to ensure we bring it home because we are the only Kenyans in the race, I am optimistic because we have had enough training,” Kipngetich underscored.

Ugandans will be inspired by their ‘god father’ world record holder Joshua Cheptegei to break the Kenyan and hosts Ethiopian hearts.

“We are inspired by Jacob Kiplimo and Joshua Cheptegei and we have belief that we will reach where they are one day. I look forward to when I will break records and I am going to do it one day,” Kibett said.

Race founder legendary Haile Gebresilassie noted that the presence of Kenyans and Ugandans will give Ethiopians a hard time even as the women’s race has attracted Anna Dibaba, the younger sisters to Tirunesh and Genzebe.

“I am so happy to see Kenyans in the race as always, because we are brothers and we have that athletics rivalry. No Kenyan has ever won the race, I hope the two competing this year have what it takes to break the jinks, and with the Ugandans on board, then it’s going to be a tough race. I wish all competitors the best,” Haile remarked.