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Injured Kiplagat pulls out of Chicago Marathon

08-25-2012 03:10 BJT

NAIROBI, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) -- Berlin marathon champion Florence Kiplagat from Kenya announced on Friday that she has pulled out of the Chicago Marathon.

Kiplagat, who clocked 2:19:44 in winning Berlin marathon last year, cited an ankle injury for her withdrawal, just a month ahead of the race.

However, Kenya will still have another promising star Lucy Kabuu, winner of the Dubai Marathon, for the prestigious event.

"I think I put my body under too much pressure trying to qualify for the Olympics in 10,000m race. I have to slow down and leave my leg to heal now," said Kiplagat Friday in Eldoret.

This leaves the field to Russia's Liliya Shobukhova who will be going for an unprecedented fourth consecutive victory in the event's 35th edition on Oct. 7.

After she was unable to finish the Olympic Games Marathon on Aug. 5 due to stomach cramps, Shobukhova will look to get back to her winning way in Chicago where she is undefeated in three appearances.

Shobukhova, who ran the third-fastest time in history (2:18:20) to win last year's race, will face her stiffest competition yet in the bid for her fourth title.

Sub-2:20 performer Kabuu (2:19:34) stands in her way, as does Ethiopia's Ejegayehu Dibaba, who ran 2:22:09 in a runner-up finish to Shobukhova last year.

These three athletes have the potential to put Paula Radcliffe's 10-year-old course record of 2:17:18 in jeopardy.

Kabuu currently has the third fastest performance of the year - and she is ranked 14 in all-time list - after her 2:19:34 run at the Dubai Marathon in January.

"Lucy is one of the most exciting athletes in the sport," said Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski in a statement.

"She is relatively new to the marathon, which, combined with what she has accomplished on the track and in cross country, promises a very bright future ahead.

"The Chicago marathon is a course that will suit them well and I think these two athletes will push each other to even greater heights."

Dubai was Kabuu's first marathon, and her debut ranks as the second fastest all-time (behind marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe). In April, she placed fifth at the London marathon, narrowly missing out on making her third Olympic team.

Also joining the field is Kenya's Caroline Rotich, the fourth place finisher from the last year's Boston Marathon with a personal best of 2:24:26. She will compete in the Chicago marathon for the first time.

Incredibly, it has been 10 years since a Kenyan woman broke the finish tape in Chicago - that being Catherine Ndereba in 2001 in a then world record time of 2:18:47.

In fact, since Ndereba's runner-up performance the following year, a Kenyan woman has not finished among Chicago's top three, and only Joyce Chepchumba (fourth, 2004) has finished among the top five.

This trio of Kenyan athletes will look to put an end to the winless streak at the October event.

Editor:James |Source: Xinhua

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