23 APR 2002 General News

O’Sullivan and teams from Russia, Japan and Romania lay down stiff challenge to Kenya’s title hopes in Brussels

O’Sullivan and teams from Russia, Japan and Romania lay down stiff challenge to Kenya’s title hopes in Brussels
24 April 2002 – A strong Kenyan women’s team for the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Brussels on 5 May led by Tegla Loroupe a former three time winner of this title, will face stiff opposition from strong Russian, Japanese and Romanian squads.

Joining Loroupe in Kenya’s team will be Susan Chepkemei who in the last two years has finished runner up to Britain’s Paula Radcliffe. Radcliffe will not compete in Brussels, having only just run and won her spectacular marathon debut in London on the 14 April, However, while her non-appearance will boost Kenya’s individual title hopes, the presence of Ireland’s Sonia O’Sullivan will mean no medals will be easily won in Brussels.

Away from the battle for individual glory, Kenya faces a stiff challenge in the team contest in particular from Russia, Japan and Romania, who all finished in the top sixth team places in last year’s championships in Bristol.

The Russians can boast Svetlana Zakharova and Lyudmila Petrova who, unlike Radcliffe will run in Brussels despite finishing second (2:22:31) and third (2:22:33) behind the British runner at the marathon in London.

Furthermore, with Japan fielding a strong team headed by last year’s World half marathon 4th placer  Mizuki Noguchi, and Romania calling on the likes of Mihaela Botezan and Olaru Nuta who were 10th and 11th in Bristol, there should be a wonderful women’s race to savour in Brussels on 5 May.

In the men’s race, the Kenyan’s have chosen a strong squad led by last summer’s World 10,000m champion Charles Kamathi who was fifth in this year’s World Cross Country Championships in Dublin and took second place (1 h 00:22) in the Stramilano half marathon recently.

The Spanish men’s team who have twice taken the men’s team silver in the World Half marathon, look particularly strong with a marvellous quartet of marathon runners, three of whom Javier Cortes, Antonio Pena and Julio Rey ran sub 2:08 last year.

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