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Injured Paris marathon champ Lonyangata targets Shanghai marathon
NAIROBI, Sept. 23 -- Paris Marathon champion Paul Lonyangata is expected to be fit to compete in November after he sustained a knee injury that has forced him to withdraw from Chicago marathon.
The former Lisbon marathon champion was supposed to give Olympic champion Mo Farah and last year's runners-up Abel Kirui a run on the Chicago marathon course on Oct. 7. However, a late injury in his training means the 25-year-old will have to bite his time before debuting on the US soil.
With the Shanghai marathon coming up on Nov. 18, Lonyangata remains hopeful he will get the nod from both the medical team and the race organizers to return to China where he won in 2015.
"The plan was to compete in Chicago, but I then sustained an injury that has made it hard for me to train. My doctors advised me against putting it under pressure in training so I had to ease off," he said Sunday in Eldoret.
"Hopefully, I will be back in training soon and be fit to run. I think returning to Shanghai will be a good idea. If invited, I want to go back and win."
Already former world marathon record holder Dennis Kimetto (2:02.57) has confirmed participation in this year's Shanghai marathon as he makes another comeback after his initial attempt in Vienna, Austria in April saw him limp out with injury after the 21km mark.
In April, Lonyangata became the first man to win back-to-back Paris marathon titles since Steve Brace of Britain in 1989 and 1990. He won the Paris title in two hours, 6 minutes and 25 seconds and failed in attaining his second target that was to improve his personal best, which he had set in 2017 when he finished in 2:06:10.
"It was a wonderful experience to win in Paris. But that is in the past. I want to look forward and excel because I want to represent the country in Olympics and the World Championships," he added.
Indeed in 2019, there will be a cut throat competition for Kenya team slots for the World Championships in Doha, Qatar in October. Kenya has over 100 elite marathon runners and only three can be selected for the race. The 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan is still far away and already defending champion Eliud Kipchoge, who won in berlin in world record time of two hours, one minute and 39 seconds says he is keen to retain his crown.
Meanwhile, Organizers of the Chicago marathon have also confirmed that due to injuries, last year's bronze medalist Jordan Hasay (USA) and Madai Perez (Mexico) will not be competing. However, to shore up the number of elite runners, they have invited two-time Chicago Marathon champion Florence Kiplagat of Kenya to the race.