Returning Kenyan out to go one better

Abel Kirui speaks at yesterday's Great South Run press conference       ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (123502-9858)
Abel Kirui speaks at yesterday's Great South Run press conference ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (123502-9858)
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Marathon king Abel Kirui returns to the Bupa Great South Run tomorrow aiming to turn second spot into first.

Kirui finished runner-up around the streets of Portsmouth behind Leonard Komon 12 months ago.

But the two-time and reigning world champion in the marathon – and Olympic silver medallist over the same distance – is determined to go one better tomorrow.

Kirui spoke of being part of something special in London in the summer Olympics.

But the Kenyan also explained he had a special affinity with Portsmouth after competing here previously.

Kirui said: ‘The race will be competitive and I will be back to fight again like last year.

‘Last year was hard because it was windy but I was happy being in position two – and I was also in position two in the Olympics.

‘I can say it was good in London. It was a special thing for me to be part of and I wanted to get a medal.

‘But this is an important race for me and I know it is an honour to race in the city of Portsmouth.

‘I’m very happy to be here and look forward to success.

‘It’s a good place to compete and I like being near the boats. It’s a nice place.

‘I hope I wake up tomorrow and I can feel in my body that I can make a good race.

‘The course is very good but the problem is the weather. I have to adapt to all conditions.

‘We will compete but it is down to the energy and the tactics in the race that will make the difference.’

Kirui’s main rival tomorrow will be Olympic 10,000m bronze medallist Tariku Bekele, from Ethopia.

Bekele finished behind double gold hero Mo Farah in the Olympics.

Farah will not be involved, however, despite his victory in Portsmouth in 2009.

Bekele said: ‘Mo is a very strong athlete and he is controlling everything and training well. But I am trying my best this year and I’m looking forward to racing well in Portsmouth.’