Rotich retains Sao Paulo road title

Updated 22 January 2014
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Rotich retains Sao Paulo road title

SAO PAULO: Edwin Kipsang Rotich of Kenya won the 89th edition of the prestigious Sao Paulo international road race Tuesday to retain his title.
Last year’s men’s race saw an all-Kenyan podium with Rotich besting Joseph Aperumoi and Mark Korir.
And Rotich again dominated as he gave the Kenyans their sixth title in the past 11 editions, timing 43min 48sec for the 15km around the streets of central Sao Paulo.
This time he bested Korir by 21sec with Stanley Koech third at 41sec for a second straight Kenyan one-two-three.
Rotich’s time was 36sec off the event mark at this distance set in 1995 by five-time winner Paul Tergat.
Knowing the course from last year made his task easier, Rotich said.
“I knew the course whereas last year was my first time,” Rotich told reporters, adding the Kenyans egged each other on.
“We speak the same language and talk to each other during the race,” he explained afterwards.
Another Kenyan, Nancy Kipron, took the honors in the women’s race, winning in 51min 58sec to succeed Maurine Jelagat Kipchumba as the Kenyans completed another double triumph.
Kipron saw off Ethiopia’s Netsanet Gudeta and Tanzania’s Jackline Juma to add to her Rio half-mararthon success last August.
Kipron explained she had frozen on previous visits but this time “I changed everything — in my head, psychologically, training.”
“I told myself everything would be new for me,” said Kipron, who knocked 2min 45sec off her finish 12 months ago, when she placed eighth.
A record 27,500 runners participated in Brazil’s oldest street race as well as what is generally regarded as the main international event in the Latin American athletics calendar.
The race attracted a colorful crowd with one fan dressing up as the US president with a giant sash bearing the legend President of USA draped over his shoulder.
Another dressed up as World Cup mascot Fuleco while one man wore an Elvis Presley costume.
Somewhat incongruously, Globo daily also pictured the runners limbering up just yards (meters) from two homeless people lying sprawled on mattresses.
Some locals also help up placards to protest at last week’s decision by a Brazilian Football Confederation tribunal to confirm docked points for local side Portuguesa, which relegated the club and saved outgoing champions Fluminense from the drop.
Rotich promised to set a tough pace from the outset as he looked to retain his title and he duly showed the rest a clean pair of heels.
Kipron’s win meanwhile gave Kenyan women a fifth straight success.
The first Sao Silvestre was held in 1925 — just 48 racers turned up — but women only began competing in 1975.


Saudi Arabia prepare to step up World Cup preparations with Italy test

Updated 43 min 2 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia prepare to step up World Cup preparations with Italy test

  • Green Falcons play the Azzurri in Switzerland
  • Mancini: 'Saudi Arabia are a fast and physical team'

Italy coach Roberto Mancini is wary of the threat posed by Saudi Arabia ahead of their friendly on Monday in St.Gallen in Switzerland.
The four-time global champions failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup and are looking to rebuild ahead of the 2020 European Championships. Mancini was appointed in May to take over the national team and breathe in some new life.
“This is a vital game for us,” Mancini told Saudi Arabian television ahead of the friendly. “We know that Saudi Arabia are preparing for the World Cup so this is a great chance for us to build for the future,” said the former Manchester City boss.
“Saudi Arabia are a fast and physical team,” added Mancini. “All of the players are technically very good and we are looking forward to the test. We have to be careful as some of the players are playing for their World Cup place.”
Mario Balotelli is set to win his first international cap in four years for Italy after being recalled by Mancini.
“We didn’t make the World Cup,” said Balotelli. “Now we have to forget about that and focus on the future.”
The former Manchester City, AC Milan and Liverpool forward is looking forward to the challenge on Monday.
“We have to forget about what happened earlier this year and the fact that we didn’t qualify,” said Balotelli. “That is history now and we are really looking forward to playing Saudi Arabia. I haven’t played for the national team for a long time and I feel that I still have a lot to offer.”
Saudi Arabia are coming off the back of two 2-0 friendly victories against Algeria and Greece in a Spanish training camp that took place in May, but a good result against Italy would increase confidence levels further.
The lowest-ranked of all the 32 teams at the World Cup have a busy preparation period and take on Peru and Germany after the Italy clash. Saudi Arabia will meet the hosts Russia in the opening game of the 2018 World Cup in Moscow on June 14. After that, the Green Falcons take on Uruguay and Egypt in Group A.
“Any game is an important one in the build-up to the World Cup,” Saudi Arabia coach Juan Antonio Pizzi said on Sunday. “But playing Italy is something special. If we can get a good result then it can give us confidence to go on and have a good tournament. The important thing for us is that we feel we believe at this level and that is why we can try and push Italy all the way.”
The Green Falcons have been in Switzerland for a week in what is the fifth and final leg of their World Cup preparations. “Preparations are running smoothly and perfectly,” said Nawaf Al-Temyat, the vice president of Saudi Arabian Football Federation and chairman of World Cup 2018 preparation team, in a video on the federation’s Twitter account.
“We look forward in the coming three weeks to strong preparations. We’ll be playing three tough games against tough opponents. The Italian team has a new coach, Mancini, which is a great motivation for us. The Peruvian team is also a strong one and might be full of surprises in the World Cup. The coach and the players are very skilled.”
The Green Falcons have won three, lost three and drawn one of the seven games since Pizzi replaced Edgardo Bauza.
“We always say in the Saudi team that performance should be good during friendlies and results should be good in official games,” added Al-Temyat. “This means results are not important in friendlies but our performance is.”