Wilson Kiprop Determined to Win Gold in Copenhagen
Wilson KIprop, photo by Justin Lagat
"I don't want to say much. All I can say for now, is that, I am very determined to win the gold medal there", said Kiprop.
Kiprop, who is the 2010 world half marathon champion, also added that he and his Kenyan compatriots will not only be going for the individual title, but will as well strategize on ensuring that they win the team title as well. Having won the last six team titles, it should not be such a hard task for Kenyans to claim the team title in Copenhagen, given that its team comprises of athletes who have all run under 60 minutes in half marathon.
"We want it just to be like the 2010 outing where we won both the individual as well as the team gold medals", he said, after he had earlier on, showed me the two gold medals he brought home from Nanning, China.
I was sitting with him in his living room discussing the upcoming IAAF world half marathon championships that will take place next week on Saturday the 29th in Copenhagen.
When I sought to know his thoughts on Zersenay Tadese, the 5 times world champion who has also expressed his determination to win a sixth title, he acknowledged that Tadese is a great runner, but added that it is not automatic that the athlete who has the most impressive past records is the one who usually wins in a race.
"Sometimes much attention is given to other athletes and then a new one emerges during the race and wins it", he said. I could only think of many incidences when such scenarios have happened. Perhaps some good examples of these include he himself emerging to win the 2010 title, Eunice Sum winning the world 800m gold medal in Moscow and Dennis Kimetto winning the Berlin half marathon in 2012, among many others.
Regarding his training so far ahead of the championships, he feels that everything has been going well.
"I am confident with the training I have done. I feel that I have already done over 80% of my preparations and only little finalizing remains to be done in the next few days"
He is also more confident about winning the world title this time round than he was in 2010. First, he says he has done it before, and so can see a better possibility of doing it again. Secondly, he had never run under one hour in half marathon before 2010, he now has run under one hour in the distance, not once; but five times. And thirdly, he now has more experience of running in many competitive races, which he didn't have in 2010.
Looking at the collection of trophies and medals he now has, one would easily mistake him for a vendor if he paraded them on the streets. It is the 2010 world half marathon trophy and the gold medals that accompanied it that he treasures the most in his cabinet.
Wilson Kiprop's award cabinet, photo by Justin Lagat
I asked him what he thought about the course they will be using in Copenhagen.
"I have heard it is going to be flat and fast. The last two half marathons I recently ran were also on faster courses; the New Dheli and the RAK half marathons. So, I can say these races have prepared me well for a faster course. Unlike courses with hills where some athletes who are best suited for such terrains can take advantage of the hills to shake off the rest, faster courses are fairer and better as long as you have done enough speed and endurance training. It may get a little boring though, as you will be running in one pattern and same body posture all the way, but I prefer them to hard courses", he replied.
Wilson Kiprop, photo by PhotoRun.net
As at now, he is also looking forward to the world championships, just like every fan of world athletics around the globe is doing.
Will the Kenyan men's team win the team title for the 7th consecutive time?
Will Wilson Kiprop win his second gold medal? Will Zersenay Tadese reign again? It is only a matter of days before we get to know the answers to these questions as we watch a world championship race that promises to be thrilling.