Kenya's Olympic 10,000m silver medallist Paul Tanui Friday said he is looking to qualify for the World championships by improving his personal best during the IAAF Gold Label TCS World 10K run to be held on Sunday. "I am expecting to make a big revision in my personal best of 28:47 in the race here. My main focus is still on the track and I want to qualify for the world championships and the battle for another medal," Paul said.
Asked if his main contestant will be Uganda's Joshua Cheptegei, given the almost retired career of Rio gold medalist Mo Farah, Paul said he doesn't run to beat an opponent but to compete against himself. The 35-year-old Farah is the first British track and field athlete to win three Olympic gold medals as he had retained his 10,000m title with a thrilling victory in Rio Games.
Cheptegei, in 2017, had won silver in 10,000m run at the World championship in London. In 2018, he set a world record for a 15 km road race and became the World Cross Country champion in 2019. "I don't think Mo Farah has almost retired from 10,000 meters race. He is still good, but I don't think Mo has retired. I don't run to beat somebody. I run to beat myself. So my main focus is to go out there and perform to my best of abilities," he told PTI here.
Paul has won 10,000 meters medals on the track at the last three world championships but generally has shied away from running over the same distance on the road. His last run was in 2016. Asked who would be his competitors in Kenya to qualify for Tokyo Olympics, Paul said: "I cannot name my competitors because there are far too many runners who would be participating for the qualifiers.
"Nevertheless, I focus on my training and I compete with myself. I don't focus on my competitors. My competitor is myself," he said. Bahrain's Kenya-born reigning world marathon champion Rose Chelimo, who will also be participating in the event, said her recent results have been disappointing.
Chelimo had won the global marathon title, before going on to become the continental champion over the classic distance at Jakarta Asian Games last August. Chelimo's most recent outing saw her finish down in seventh place at the Gifu Half Marathon in Japan last month and she finished a modest 41st at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in March.
"I hope to defend my title in Doha, everything is aiming to that and I am not too worried about the fact that the marathon there will be hot. However, I have been preparing specially for this race for the last two weeks and I have prepared well," she said. "I have to admit I am a little nervous running against all these fast women here. A 10km race is different from the marathon. In a marathon, after 10km there is still 32km to go," she said in a lighter vein.
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