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Kiplagat bullish Former Chicago Marathon winner enlisted for next month’s Kolkata 25km race



The 2016 Chicago Marathon winner Florence Kiplagat is set to face off with Ethiopia’s Degitu Azimeraw at the Tata Steel Kolkata 25km race race in India on December 16.

Kiplagat will come to Kolkata with a burning desire to do well. Twelve months ago, she was signed up with an intention of running the 25km in 2017 but was injured shortly before Chicago Marathon and wasn’t fit enough to be on the starting line in Kolkata.

In fact, Kiplagat did not race for a year before finishing fourth at this year’s Chicago Marathon last month. This will be her first trip to Kolkata but it is far from Kiplagat’s first time on Indian soil as she is a two-time former winner of the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon.

Azimeraw, the defending champion of the event, surprised everyone by taking the honours in a course record of 1:26.01 in her first international race.

The million-dollar question now is whether the prodigious teenage Ethiopian talent will outwit Kiplagat and improve on the mark when she returns to Kolkata next month.

In 2018, Azimeraw has shown that her win in the ‘City of Joy’ was no fluke with three excellent half marathon performances, including improving her personal best to 1:06:47 at the RAK HalfMarathon in February and later winning the famous Gifu Half Marathon in Japan.

The target for the men’s field is the Indian all-comers best and course record of 1:13:48 set by Ethiopian distance running legend Kenenisa Bekele last year, the first year since the TSK25K was inaugurated in 2014 that top overseas runners came to challenge the leading Indian men and women.

Heading the men’s field this year is Bekele’s compatriot, Ethiopia’s Birhanu Legese, who will be a familiar face to Indian athletics fans as he is a two-time former Airtel Delhi Half Marathon champion and he has run no less than six times in Procam International races, most recently in May this year when he was second in the TCSW10K in Bengaluru.

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