Athletics

Eliud Kipchoge sends Russia message after Tokyo Marathon victory

Eliud Kipchoge Tokyo marathon 2022
  • Eliud Kipchoge sent a subtle message to Russia following his victory at Tokyo Marathon in Japan on Sunday
  • Although he did not directly mention Russia Ukraine war now on its 11th day, Kipchoge called for dialogue
  • He remarked that his victory in Japan was all about bringing positivity to the world

World marathon Champion Eliud Kipchoge sent a subtle message to Russia following his victory at Tokyo Marathon in Japan on Sunday.

Kipchoge in a statement after winning the Tokyo Marathon in 2:02:40 said that fighting is not a solution.

Although he did not directly mention Russia Ukraine war now on its 11th day, Kipchoge called for dialogue. He remarked that his victory in Japan was all about bringing positivity to the world.

“Finally, I want to say I want this world to unite. If there are differences I want us to meet and speak, not fight. My win today is to bring positivity in this world,” said the Kenyan runner.

On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin made a pre-dawn television address in which he said Russia could not feel secure, due to continuous threats from Ukraine.

Eliud Kipchoge

Kenyan Kipchoge hails success of virtual 42.2km relay event. Goal.com

Putin irrationally stated that his purpose was to defend those who had been bullied and murdered. That is why he sought for the “demilitarization and de-Nazification” of Ukraine led by a Jewish president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Now branded as the ‘bitter ex-lover’, Russia brought in missiles and bombs from Belarus. It did not leave behind rolling tanks from the border, parachuting troops into the east, and massive explosions across the country.

Hitherto, Russia has brought down Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, and other major cities. A further 1.2 million people have fled to neighbouring countries for refuge as the war intensifies.

Meanwhile, an impressive 17-second personal best by Amos Kipruto, the Kenyan who pushed Kipchoge for nearly 22 miles, earned him second place in the race.

He received a bear hug from a fellow countryman after he crossed the finish line. Almost a minute later, Ethiopia’s Tamirat Tola came in third in 2:04:14.

Even at 37, Kipchoge is still going strong. And it was the fourth-fastest marathon ever run by a human being—the third-fastest marathon of his life. Since he broke the world mark in Berlin in 2018, he has run 2:02:37 in London this year.

Kipchoge, who won Olympic gold in the marathon in Sapporo last year, received a warm welcome from Japan. He said this was a big moment for him in his athletics career.

“I am so proud to win in the streets of Tokyo, where the people have running in their heart and minds. After winning my second Olympic Gold medal in Japan last summer, I returned to Tokyo to run a strong race.

“And this is what I meant with a strong race, 2:02 victory and new course record. I’m proud to now have won 4 out of the 6 Abbott World Marathon Major races.”

Kipchoge’s triumph was enabled by weather in Tokyo. At the start, the temperature was 46 degrees, and there was plenty of sunshine for the runners to enjoy, but the final five kilometres were accompanied by strong gusts.

Eliud Kipchoge to the rescue in food relief project in Kenya - Sports Leo

Eliud Kipchoge to the rescue in food relief project in Kenya. PHOTO: The Times

After two years of pandemic interruption, the Tokyo Marathon attracted 20,000 runners and signalled a return to normalcy for the marathon.

As COVID-19 was just beginning to spread over the world in 2020, the event was restricted to elite runners. First, the race was moved to the fall, and then it was cancelled altogether.

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