Kipsang set for heroes` welcome on return from Berlin

Nairobi: Many castigated his decision to skip the World championships in Moscow, but Wilson Kipsang returns home Tuesday night riding the crest of a wave that propelled him to shave 15 seconds off the world marathon record in Berlin.

Kipsang had hinted at going full throttle to attain his target a week to the race, and lived up to his expectation when he romped home in 2:03.23, ending compatriots Patrick Makau`s hold on the record at 2:03.38 Sunday.

"I must say, we didn`t expect his performance to be this good. My congratulations to Kipsang, battling all odds to set a new world mark," Athletics Kenya (AK) vice president David Okeyo said here Monday.

"This confirms the extent of determination and hard work our athletes are putting in their training. They always strive to raise the bar and I believe there is more to come from them."

Kipsang`s performance was phenomenonal: It was the eighth world record in Berlin in 15 years, strengthening the marathon`s reputation as the world`s fastest course.

Kipsang earned $54,000 in prize money plus another $68,000 for breaking the record.

Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya was second in 2:04:05, improving his personal best by a minute and a half in his second marathon, while Kenya`s Geoffrey Kipsang -- not related to Wilson -- was third in 2:06:26.

Coaches also congratulated the new hero and said his decision to skip the World Championships has been vindicated as he has trained well and conquered the world to set a new record in Berlin.

Kipsang, who finished third in London marathon, decided to skip Moscow World Marathon Championships to focus on the Berlin course, with a world record behind the plot.

Coach Julius Kirwa said he can now walk tall after attaining his goal.

"Many local athletes have been misguided by greed and tend to compete in one too many marathons. The end result is evident at major championships as they are exhausted and can`t compete," said Kirwa.

"But he (Kipsang) has shown that with good planning, everything is possible. I must also congratulate Florence Kiplagat and Eliud Kipchoge for putting in a good show too."

Kipsang threatened to break the world record first in 2011, just a month after Makau (2:03.38) ended Haile Gebreselasssie`s record of 2:03.59.

Kipsang running in Frankfurt finished in 2:03.42, missing the world record by just four seconds. But he has since been rewarded with the title after two years.


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