Chumba feels sorry for Kipsang for missing WR


Kenya's Wilson Kipsang (L,#1), compatriots Dickson Chumba (C,#2) and Gideon Kipketer (R, #12) celebrate after crossing ...
Kenya's Wilson Kipsang (L,#1), compatriots Dickson Chumba (C,#2) and Gideon Kipketer (R, #12) celebrate after crossing the finish line in the men's category of the Tokyo Marathon in Tokyo on February 26, 2017. (KAZUHIRO NOGI / AFP)

The 2014 Tokyo Marathon winner and 2017 third finisher- Dickson Chumba said he felt sorry for compatriot and event winner Wilson Kipsang for missing out on his target of breaking the world record in his barnstorming 2:03:58 on Sunday.

Chumba chased Kipsang with the pair inside Dennis Kimetto’s 2:02:57 standard until the 35K mark where the former Tokyo record holder who ran 2:05:42 in 2014 faded in the closing stages to be beaten to second by Gideon Kipketer as Kenyans occupied the first six places.

Chumba who won the 2015 Chicago Marathon before being beaten to the title by two-time World Champion Abel Kirui last year concurred with Kipsang who blamed the high headwinds between the 30K and 35K marks as the reason behind the failed world record bid.

“I feel sorry because he ran a good race but just couldn’t pull it off. And I think we could have run faster but then the weather conditions grew tough towards the end,” Chumba told Citizen Digital at Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport upon his arrival on Tuesday afternoon.

Kipsang, the New York and former two-time London champion led a Kenyan sweep that saw Evans Chebet (2:06:42), Alfers Lagat (2:07:39) and the seasoned Bernard Kipyego (2:08:10) round off the top six.

With the course made faster and flatter by the organisers who removed some hills, Kipsang had set himself the target of 2:03:50 to lower the world record set by Kimetto at the 2014 Berlin Marathon.

Kimetto erased the previous 2:03:23 standard set by his former training partner and Volare Sports stable-mate Kipsang at the same Berlin course only 12 months earlier and the record holder who has had a lean couple of seasons is attempting to bounce back to the apex of elite marathon running at the Boston race in April.

Despite ultimately falling short, Chumba hailed the 2012 and 14 London winner as a superior athlete saying his presence in the Tokyo line-up meant the gold medal was virtually unreachable.

“I knew he was targeting the world record so there was no stopping him. He is fast and pushes hard, so I just wanted to finish in the top three. I didn’t have too many ambitions of my own and I only feel sorry because he didn’t achieve his target. We could all have run faster but then the weather conditions kept us off it,” Chumba emphasised.

The 31-year-old Chumba who has now settled for bronze in his last three Tokyo races reiterated it was only a matter of time before the world record is broken while stating his own preparations for the 2017 edition had been ‘perfect’.

Following his victory on Sunday, Kipsang who is eyeing the Keiyo South parliamentary seat at the August 8 General Election moved to second behind countryman Eliud Kipchoge (50) in the men’s leader board of the USD500,000 Abbot World Marathon Majors Series X with 41 points.

He leapfrogged Berlin winner and Ethiopian great, Kenenisa Bekele (34) whose world record bid bombed at the 2017 Stanchart Dubai Marathon in January with Chumba’s third finish leaving him seventh on 25.

The 2017 Tokyo race was the first event of the two-year cycle Marathon Majors competition with Kipsang vying to win for a second time following his success in 2014.

 

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