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Kipchoge retained in Kenya's slimmed down Paris Olympics marathon squad

Eliud Kipchoge is bidding to become the first athlete to win three Olympic marathon golds (Tobias SCHWARZ)
Eliud Kipchoge is bidding to become the first athlete to win three Olympic marathon golds (Tobias SCHWARZ)

Kenya's double Olympic gold medallist Eliud Kipchoge and defending women's  champion Peres Jepchirchir were included Thursday in a star-studded marathon team to this year's Paris Olympics, athletics officials said.

The east African track and field powerhouse halved a provisional stacked squad of 20 athletes it named in December.

Only six of the 10 distance runners will make the final list for both the men and women's team.

Kipchoge, 39, was named alongside two-time Boston Marathon champion Benson Kipruto, Timothy Kiplagat and Vincent Kipkemboi Ngetich. The 2023 Berlin marathon runner-up and newcomer Alexander Mutiso also made the cut.

Kipchoge is bidding to become the first athlete to win three Olympic marathon golds following his successes at Rio in 2016 and Tokyo in 2021.

Last month, he struggled to a 10th place finish at the 2024 Tokyo Marathon behind winner Kipruto (2:02:16) and Kiplagat (2:02:55).

The race was taking place less than a month after world record-holder Kelvin Kiptum died when his car crashed into a tree in Kenya.

The women's squad saw the inclusion of Jepchirchir and Olympics silver medallist Brigid Kosgei.

Others are the reigning Boston and Chicago marathon champion Helen Obiri, Rosemary Wanjiru, Sharon Lokedi and the 2019 World champion Ruth Chepngetich.

"The journey begins as we defend our crown," Kenya's National Olympic Committee said on X.

Provisional Kenyan Olympic marathon squad:

Men: Eliud Kipchoge, Vincent Kipkemoi Ngetich, Timothy Kiplagat, Benson Kipruto, Alexander Mutiso.

Women: Ruth Chepngetich, Brigid Kosgei, Helen Obiri, Rosemary Wanjiru, Sharon Lokedi, Peres Jepchirchir.

aik/ho/nr