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Kenya’s Rotich, Jepkorir face off in quest for Daegu Marathon title
Nairobi, March 31: Revenge will be in the air as Kenyan duo of Pamela Rotich and Winnie Jepkorir duel for this year's Daegu International Marathon on Sunday in South Korea.
Rotich set a best time of 2:27:48 in the Korean city 12 months ago with compatriot Jepkorir taking second place in a lifetime best of 2:27:52, reports Xinhua news agency.
Rotich went on to win the Singapore Marathon later in the year, while Jepkorir reduced her lifetime best to 2:27:18 when placing third at the Valencia Marathon.
Organisers have confirmed that six of the top seven finishers from last year will return to Daegu.
"I have every reason to take the challenge to Rotich. She beat me by just four seconds but I hope to gain the advantage on her this time round. There will be no love lost when we step on that course," warned Jepkorir.
Both athletes are eyeing the event as a stepping stone to their mission to represent Kenya at the 2019 World Championships.
A win will be a major boost to them, which means they will need just one more race in September and October to be placed in the pool of top runners for coaches' selection for Doha 2019 Worlds.
Nancy Jebet Koech, who finished fourth last year in a best time of 2:29:30 before going on to clock a half marathon quick time of 1:11:46 and win the Malaga Marathon in 2:31:55 will also be in the line-up.
Others are Ukraine's Olga Kotovska, fifth in Daegu last year in 2:30:18, Peru's Wilma Yanet Arizapana and Morocco's Souad Kanbouchia.
Janet Rono may not have raced in Daegu before, but her fast time of 2:26:03, set when finishing fifth at the 2014 Tokyo Marathon, makes her the fastest in the field.
Ethiopian duo Megeretu Geletu, who clocked 2:29:45 in Dubai in 2016, and Nurit Yimam, who ran a lifetime best of 2:28:41 to finish fourth in Marrakech earlier this year, should also be in contention for a podium place.
In the men's race, Vincent Rono will seek to improve on his fourth place finish last year in Daegu where he clocked 2:10:23.
Rono will return to South Korea for this year's Daegu Marathon but will have gained valuable experience of the course from 12 months ago.
The 27-year-old set a half marathon best time of 59:27 when winning in Lille last year. More recently he clocked 1:00:24 to finish ninth at the highly competitive Ras al-Khaimah Half Marathon in Feb.
He hasn't raced since then, so his legs will be much fresher compared to last year.
His challengers will include Kenyan Abraham Kiptum (2:05:26), Peter Some will also be returning to Daegu, having finished second last year in 2:09:22.
His most recent marathon was a victory in Shenzhen in Dec in 2:14:49. Others are Jacob Kendagor, Reuben Kerio, Julius Tuwei and Elisha Rotich.