Karoki out to strike World Half gold in Valencia


Bedan Karoki wins the men's 2017 RAK in the UAE. PHOTO/Organisers
(FILE)Bedan Karoki wins the men's 2017 RAK in the UAE. PHOTO/Organisers

In Summary

  • An elated Bedan Karoki said he cannot wait to hit the road in Valencia after he was named in Team Kenya for this year's IAAF World Half Marathon Championships
  • He will be keen to upgrade his 2016 silver to gold and will face stiff competition from his friend and compatriot Geoffrey Kamworor who is the reigning champion

An elated Bedan Karoki said he cannot wait to hit the road in Valencia after he was named in Team Kenya for this year’s IAAF World Half Marathon Championships that will be held in March 24.

The 27-year-old will keen to upgrade his 2016 silver to gold at the Spanish ‘City of Running’ and will face stiff competition from his friend and compatriot Geoffrey Kamworor who is the reigning champion.

“It is always an honour to represent Kenya because getting this chance is not easy. This time round I hope to improve on the second position I achieved in 2016 but I know that won’t come easily,” Karoki told Citizen Digital.

Defending champion Kamworor and Karoki were among the athletes selected by Athletics Kenya (AK) to represent Kenya with Family Bank Half Marathon champion Joram Okombo Lumbasi, Leonard Barsoton and Barselius Kipyego completing the five-man line-up.

According to Karoki, team work is essential for them to taste victory in the biennial competition that has been dominated by Kenyans.

“Each and every time we usually work as a team because if you fail to do so especially in international competitions you risk falling apart,” Karoki revealed.

Before then however, Karoki will have to defend his title at the RAK Half Marathon slated for Friday 9 at the United Arab Emirates where he will come up against fellow compatriots Joram Lumbasi and Leonard Barsoton both of whom will be representing Kenya in Valencia.

Reigning Champion Karoki clocked 59.10 last year en route to clinching the title and will be up against other 15 athletes who boast personal bests of less than an hour including Ethiopian duo of Guye Adola and 2014 champion Lelisa Desisa.

“I have prepared well especially in my training and with a few days remaining, I can now say that I am ready to defend my title on Friday because I am always confident,” Karoki said at the sidelines of the Discovery Kenya Road Race held in his backyard of Nyahururu on Sunday.

It is a busy season for Karoki as he will be having less than a month after the World Half Marathon to prepare for the London Marathon due on April 22 where he will be taking on seasoned athletes such as two time champion Eliud Kipchoge and Olympic champion Sir Mo Farah.

For Karoki however he remains unfazed by the big names he will be up against maintaining that he will remain focused in the British Capital later in April.

“In terms of London marathon, I will be approaching it as any other race because for me I have never been deterred by names, I usually believe in myself and what I do in my training,”  charged Karoki.

Karoki is also a seasoned track athlete in the 10,000m having represented the country in International competitions since 2011 where he won a silver medal in the All- Africa Games held in Maputo, Mozambique.

It has not been all rosy for Karoki at the global scene since he is yet to make to the podium, as in the Olympic Games he finished fifth at the 2012 Games held in London, United Kingdom before dropping further to seventh in the 2016 Games held in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

It has been a similar script in the World Championships where he finished sixth in 2013 before settling for the fourth spot in the both the 2015 and 2017 championships.

Karoki will not be participating in the Commonwealth Games slated for February 16-17 as he claimed the Games comes too close to the World Half Marathon.

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Story By Gilbert Kiprotich
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