We will win fight against coronavirus, says Kipchoge

Eliud Kipchoge
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Updated 31 March 2020

We will win fight against coronavirus, says Kipchoge

NAIROBI: Eliud Kipchoge, the world’s greatest marathon man, reckoned his first reaction was shock when he heard at home in Kenya that the 2020 Olympic Games had been postponed because of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.
That shock soon gave way to disappointment —  but then defiance.
“We will win this fight against the COVID-19,” the barrier-breaking Kenyan, who’s widely considered the world’s finest runner, said in an interview with Reuters.
And the man who last year became the first to run a marathon in under two hours confirmed he can see himself refreshed and ready to defend his marathon title in a rearranged Tokyo Olympics next year.
For the moment, though, the 35-year-old insists his only concern is to care for his family at their home in Eldoret.
“I am totally concentrating on my safety, I am totally concentrating on the safety of the whole family,” he said.
“The virus has really hit us in a hard way. That’s why you need to focus.”
Kipchoge explained he had been relaxing at home when he heard of the Tokyo postponement.
“I was a little shocked and I had to go back, just to think more. I think and then I said, ‘it’s not a bad idea to actually postpone.’
“You know the Olympic Games is whereby everybody wants to participate ... it’s in the dreams of every sportsman in this world.”
Kipchoge thinks a delayed Olympics could actually benefit his title defense.
“It’s a great time for us to go back, train again and we will come back with a lot of energy,” he said.
The pandemic has led to the postponement or cancelation of sporting events around the world, including the London Marathon, which next month was scheduled to be Kipchoge’s first outing since October’s landmark 1 hour, 59 minutes, 40 seconds run in Vienna.

The virus has really hit us in a hard way. That’s why you need to focus.

Eliud Kipchoge

Even though the run in Austria did not count as a world record because of the special conditions, the feat captured the world’s imagination and brought Kipchoge a whole new level of fame.

BACKGROUND

The Kenyan legend became the first to run a marathon in under two hours when he clocked 1 hour, 59 minutes, 40 seconds in Vienna in October last year.

London had promised the mouth-watering prospect of a head-to-head with Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele, the only other sub-2.02 marathoner, but Kipchoge said he was yet to think too far ahead about competing in the rescheduled race on Oct. 4.

Running alone
Kenya has confirmed 42 coronavirus cases, including one fatality, with the country having imposed restrictive measures to arrest the spread of the disease. It even affects their brilliant runners.
So Kipchoge misses the camaraderie of running with his teammates, hanging out with them afterwards and telling stories.
“It’s hard to run alone. When you have people around, the pace is okay, you just talk when you are running. You enjoy the run,” said Kipchoge, who hopes to resume serious training by May.
Asked whether the Olympics could be his last race, Kipchoge said it was too early to say.
“I am seeing myself still running again in 2021,” he said. “Let the year ahead (come) first, we will make a big decision after the year ended.”
In the meantime, Kipchoge has enjoyed spending time with his wife Grace and their three children, reading, visiting his farm and respecting government instructions about staying home as much as possible.
“Have some steps to run on, just let us keep fit. Read some newspapers, be with the family, watch good movies together,” is his message to other athletes.
“Together within a couple of months to come, this COVID-19 will go away.
“My priority No. 1 is to get the virus away, come back with one mind, one thinking, one line of actually standing and competing.”


Dortmund, Favre face tough questions after Bayern’s ‘big step’

Updated 29 May 2020

Dortmund, Favre face tough questions after Bayern’s ‘big step’

  • Several German newspapers have suggested Favre is set to leave at the end of the season

BERLIN: Borussia Dortmund visit bottom side Paderborn on Sunday with uncertainty surrounding the future of coach Lucien Favre after Tuesday’s 1-0 defeat by Bayern Munich left their Bundesliga title dreams in tatters.

Favre and Dortmund were forced to deny rumors that he is set to resign, and face Paderborn attempting to at least keep some pressure on reigning champions Bayern, who sit seven points clear with six matches remaining.

Second-placed Dortmund may also have to make do without Erling Braut Haaland, after the teenage sensation was injured against Bayern, reportedly in an accidental collision with the referee.

Swiss Favre was forced to clarify comments made on Tuesday when he said he would “talk about it (his future) in a few weeks,” saying the following day that he was not “giving up at all.”

Several German newspapers have suggested Favre is set to leave at the end of the season, with Niko Kovac, who was sacked by Bayern last year, reported to be his likely successor.

“We are certainly not having a coaching debate,” Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc insisted to Sport1.

“Lucien must have expressed himself misleadingly in a moment immediately after the game.”

Barring an unlikely late-season collapse from Bayern, it will be the second straight season that Favre’s Dortmund have pushed their rivals close in the title race before ultimately coming up short.

Dortmund led for much of the campaign last term but stumbled late to finish two points off the pace.

“We said before the season that we wanted to play for the title again,” added Zorc.

“We didn’t manage to be better than Bayern. Now we can be disappointed, take a deep breath, and then set a new goal for Sunday. Full focus is on second place.”

Dortmund will be confident of getting back on track against a Paderborn side who are rooted to the foot of the table, eight points adrift of the relegation playoff spot, despite three consecutive draws since the Bundesliga resumed following the coronavirus lockdown.

“We mustn’t talk of a miracle because there are still 18 points to be won,” said Paderborn coach Steffen Baumgart.

“As long as it’s still mathematically possible we have to give it everything we’ve got.”

Bayern are now firmly on track for a record-extending eighth straight title and on Saturday host a Fortuna Duesseldorf side who boosted their survival hopes with a 2-1 midweek win against freefalling Schalke.

“We set out to take a big step (against Dortmund). We succeeded. We showed a lot of determination,” said Bayern coach Hansi Flick.

Duesseldorf, who occupy the relegation playoff spot, are five points clear of second-bottom Werder Bremen, although the four-time Bundesliga champions have a game in hand.

Bremen, who have only spent one season out of the top flight since the Bundesliga’s formation in 1963, visit Schalke on Saturday.

Schalke coach David Wagner is under pressure after his side threw away their European hopes with a 10-match winless run, including three straight defeats since the restart of the season.

Dortmund will need Jadon Sancho to be back at his best on Sunday, with Haaland’s injury leaving them without a recognized out-and-out striker.

English winger Sancho is yet to start a game since the restart after his own fitness problems, but has featured as a subsitute in all three matches.

The 20-year-old has scored 17 goals in all competitions this season.