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By BERNARD ROTICH
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Multiple World and Olympic 3,000m champion, Ezekiel Kemboi has announced his switch to marathon races.

Speaking during Eliud Kipchoge’s rewarding ceremony in Eldoret on Thursday, the former steeplechase king said that he has been training for his debut for some time now and he is ready to run his first marathon next year in Europe.

“I was motivated by Kipchoge with whom we were together in 2003 during the World Championships. I will be venturing into the 42km race, where I want to perform well just like in the track. My first marathon race will be in Europe and I’m yet to confirm it,” said Kemboi.

The athlete, who trains in Eldoret, said that he has been training hard and has already participated in 10 road races winning seven of them.

“Many people have been asking where I have been and they will get answers soon after seeing my performance. I have competed in 10 road races and won seven of them and that shows good progress,” said Kemboi.

Kemboi said that for one to participate in a marathon, he has to be in good health and train for some time because it’s not an easy task.

He is looking forward to running a half marathon race in November as part of his preparations to the big race.

“As part of preparations, I will be looking forward to participate in a half marathon race which I will use to gauge my performance ahead of the big race in April next year,” said the former champion, who has been nicknamed Baba Yao.

He also challenged the government to channel the proceeds recovered from money in corruption to improve sports facilities.

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“Athletes are going through a lot of challenges and the government should be serious and invest on them since they are the brand ambassadors who fly the flag high. The politicians are not known in the world, but an athlete will always be accorded respect abroad,” said the athlete.

Kemboi announced his retirement from the track in London last year during the World Championships after emerging 11th in a race that saw Conseslus Kipruto bag the gold medal.

The athlete said he was bowing out of the track and handing over the mantle to the younger generation.

“I have been able to represent Kenya well in the race and I’m handing over the baton so that they can continue flying high Kenya’s flag in the race,” said the athlete then.

Kemboi boasts of being the only athlete who has won four consecutive world track medals in the same event, alongside two Olympic gold medals.

He has a personal best time of seven minutes, 55.76 seconds which he clocked in Monaco on July 22, 2011.

His longest race up the distance so far has been the 5,000m, where he has a personal best time of 13:50.61 also clocked in 2011.

Kemboi has won a number of titles throughout his outstanding career going back all the way to the 2004 Olympic Games where he won gold.



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