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Kenya's Tergat says marathon standard won't dip

by Kimathi Kamau

NAIROBI, Oct. 1 (Xinhua) -- Former world marathon record holder and recently elected International Olympics Committee (IOC) Member, Paul Tergat, has dismissed suggestions the standard at the distance will dip under the much talked 2:00 barrier.

Speaking in Nairobi on Tuesday after returning from Berlin where he watched compatriot Wilson Kipsang lower the world record to 2:03:23 on Sunday, Tergat who marked ten years since setting his own standard at the same course was terse when the million dollar question on marathon running was put to him.

"Take it from me today; forget about it, it will never happen. It's impossible," the man who ran 2:04:55 at the 2003 Berlin Marathon to become the first Kenyan to set a world record over the distance categorically stated.

He believes that Kipsang and other talented athletes will attack and break the existing record that is pending ratification by world body IAAF.

"Definitely maybe 2:03:10 but anything lower than that, it's going to a very uphill task," the IOC member and Captain at the Kenya Defence Forces added.

Tergat was among the seven athletes who have broken the world record in Berlin who were invited to mark the 40th running of the World Marathon Majors event hailed the astonishing effort by Kipsang, 31, who hammered the course from 35km to break Patrick Makau's 2:03:38 previous record by 15 seconds.

"He ran a very conservative and intelligence race. He was off the world record at some point, so I was thinking what is going to happen here because the weather was bad," he said.

"Immediately the pacemakers dropped out, he picked up and pushed it so hard. It shows that we can do anything, run anywhere and any performance we want to achieve, we can achieve," said Tergat, the retired two-time Olympics 10,000m silver winner and five-time World Cross Country Championships champion.

Kipsang fell four seconds short of matching Makau's record three weeks after it was set when he won at Frankfurt with 2:03:42 in 2011.

"Kenya's prowess in long distance was shown and this is what we want since it came from one Kenyan to another. As a nation, we have the raw talent that no one can take away from us," the IOC member who was elected to the Olympics body last month in Buenos Aires, Argentina, commented on what Kipsang's achievement meant to his country of birth.

Kipsang arrived in Nairobi on Tuesday morning where he was received by among other dignitaries, the Inspector General of the Kenya Police Service, David Kimaiyo, as the force pulled all stops to acclaim their officer who worked for three years at various posts across the country before his athletics career took off.

A major party is set to be thrown in his honour in his Iten home on Wednesday.

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