Yuki Kawauchi of Japan has joined the field for the Metro Group Marathon Düsseldorf, organisers of the IAAF Bronze Label Road Race announced today.
Kawauchi established a personal best of 2:08:37, when he was third in Tokyo in 2011. This year however he missed qualifying for the Japanese Olympic team, because he managed only 2:12:51 in Tokyo and came in 14th. In Düsseldorf the 25-year-old intends to show that he would have been worth a place in London.
But the opposition will be tough on 29 April. Among his rivals will be Ethiopian Seboka Diriba Tola, who improved to 2:06:17 in Dubai in January. Despite this fast time he was only ninth in the race. But he did beat fellow Ethiopian Yemane Adhane Tsegay (2:06:29) who won the Rotterdam Marathon last Sunday with a sizzling 2:04:48.
Defending champion Nahashon Kimaiyo (Kenya/2:10:36) will be returning to Düsseldorf. He won last year's race in 2:10:54 despite very warm weather conditions. If the weather will be more suitable for marathon running this year he and his fellow-Kenyans Joseph Ngeny (2:08:10) and Evans Ruto (2:08:36) could be able to go faster than the present course record, 2:08:32 set by Iaroslav Musinschi of Moldova in 2010.
There will also be a very strong Ethiopian runner in the women's race: Kebebush Haile features a personal best of 2:24:09. With this time she had won the Shanghai Marathon in 2011. The 26-year-old has also done very well in the Rome Marathon in the past two years. In 2010 she was second with 2:25:31 and in 2011 she took third (2:27:39). With her consistent good results she might be able to break the eight-year-old course record set by Germany's Luminita Zaituc (2:26:44).
German interest will focus on Jan Fitschen. The 2006 European 10,000m champion intends to reach the national qualifying time for the Olympic Games which is 2:12:00. He ran 2:15:40 in Frankfurt last October.
Organisers for the IAAF