World marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge says he is ready to defend his Olympic medal.
The Kenyan long-distance runner is the only human being to have run 42 kilometers in under two hours. He achieved this rare feat when he clocked 1:59.40 in Vienna in 2019.
But despite losing the London marathon title to Ethiopian Shura Kitata in October 2020, Kipchoge says that he is ready to sparkle again.
“Niko tayari! (I am ready),” he said in Kiswahili at the Athletics Village in Tokyo.
Kipchoge will take to the road on Sunday in the Japanese city, Sapporo.
Sapporo that lies north of Tokyo will host the marathon races due to its relatively cool weather.
“I am very excited to be here in the Olympic village in Japan. It is great that we are able to run the Olympic marathon in these unusual times. On Sunday, I will try to defend my Olympic marathon title from Rio de Janeiro. I cannot wait to witness a wonderful event.”
Kenyans are a bit skeptical of an outright victory for Kipchoge especially after his first defeat since September 2013 last October.
In London last year, Kipchoge who had won seven of all the World Marathon Majors races he had taken part in, including an Olympic gold medal in Rio in 2016, finished eighth in the race that was won by Ethiopian whom he will be taking on in Sapporo.
He cited a blockage in his right ear over the last 10 miles and leg and hip cramping but didn’t blame the 50-degree weather in London.