Wilson Kipsang wouldn’t have raced Kenya Olympic marathon trials

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NEW YORK — If Kenya went ahead with an Olympic marathon trials in February, its most consistent runner over the last few years planned to skip them.

Wilson Kipsang, the former world-record holder who will defend his New York City Marathon title on Sunday, said he would have chosen to race a spring marathon, presumably with much more money at stake, rather than an Olympic trials.

“It wouldn’t have been convenient,” Kipsang said Thursday.

Fortunately, Kenya’s track and field federation quickly scrapped its Olympic trials plan first announced two weeks ago. The world’s dominant marathon nation will choose its three-man and three-woman team by other means.

Kipsang, 33, is arguably the top choice if it’s a subjective system, with an Olympic bronze medal and Berlin, London and New York City Marathon victories in the last three years, plus holding the world record for one year. Though with Athletics Kenya, anything goes.

For the 2012 Olympics, it passed over Wesley Korir, the reigning Boston Marathon winner, Patrick Makau, who broke the world record at the 2011 Berlin Marathon, and Geoffrey Mutai, who broke the course record at the 2011 New York City Marathon.

Kipsang suggested the Olympic team should be chosen in February even without the trials.

“So that when you’re running in April [in a spring marathon], you know I’m on the team,” he said. “So you know how to run in the next race and try to prepare. But if you are confirmed late, it’s not really very good because, to prepare mentally, time will catch up.”

Kipsang is the favorite in the five-borough race Sunday, but he was defeated in his previous two marathons.

Kipsang finished second to countryman Eliud Kipchoge in the London Marathon in April and then dropped out of the World Championships marathon in Beijing in August, saying then, “the heat got the better of me,” but on Thursday that he considered it a training run.

Is Kipsang then worried Athletics Kenya could pass him over for the Olympics?

“Somebody like me I don’t have much pressure,” he said. “Whether I’m with the team or not, I will still have races to run.”

MORE MARATHON: Meb: I didnt want to put all my eggs in Olympic trials basket

South Korea’s first gold medalist of 2018 PyeongChang Olympics to compete for China

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Lim Hyo-Jun, a short track speed skater who won South Korea’s first gold medal of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, has been cleared to skate for China and was reportedly named to the national team Monday.

Lim, who won the 1500m on the first day of medal competition at the PyeongChang Games, began the process of switching to China after a June 2019 incident where he pulled down a teammate’s trousers, leaving him standing, exposed, in front of female teammates.

Lim, the 2019 World overall champion, was banned from the team for a year and later found guilty of sexual harassment before the verdict was overturned on appeal.

It was reported in March 2021 that Lim was in the process of trying to gain Chinese nationality to compete at the Beijing Winter Olympics, but Lim was not cleared to switch by the International Skating Union until this July. His Chinese name is Lin Xiaojun.

Another star South Korean skater, triple 2006 Olympic gold medalist Ahn Hyun-Soo, switched to Russia after not making the 2010 Olympic team. He then won three golds for the host nation as Viktor Ahn at the 2014 Sochi Games.

China’s national team for the upcoming season reportedly does not include veterans Wu Dajing, the nation’s lone gold medalist across all sports at the 2018 Olympics, and Fan Kexin, a three-time Olympic medalist.

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Brigid Kosgei, world record holder, to miss London Marathon

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World record holder Brigid Kosgei withdrew before Sunday’s London Marathon due to a right hamstring injury that has bothered her for the last month.

“My training has been up and down and not the way I would like to prepare to be in top condition,” was posted on Kosgei’s social media. “We’ve decided it’s best I withdraw from this year’s race and get further treatment on my injuries in order to enter 2023 stronger than ever.”

Kosgei, a 28-year-old Kenyan mother of twins, shattered the world record by 81 seconds at the 2019 Chicago Marathon. She clocked 2:14:04 to smash Brit Paula Radcliffe‘s record from 2003.

Since, Kosgei won the 2020 London Marathon, took silver at the Tokyo Olympics, placed fourth at the 2021 London Marathon and won this past March’s Tokyo Marathon in what was then the third-fastest time in history (2:16:02).

Ethiopian Tigist Assefa moved into the top three by winning the Berlin Marathon last Sunday in 2:15:37.

The London Marathon women’s field includes Kenyan Joyciline Jepkosgei, a winner in New York City (2019) and London (2021), and Yalemzerf Yehualaw, who was the Ethiopian record holder until Assefa won in Berlin.

The men’s field is headlined by Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele, the second-fastest male marathoner in history, and Brit Mo Farah, a four-time Olympic champion on the track.

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