Kandie gunning for 10,000m glory for Kenya in Tokyo


FILE PHOTO: Kibiwott Kandie of Kenya crosses the finish line after passing Uganda's Jacob Kiplimo at the last moment to win the annual "Sao Silvestre Run", an international race through the streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil December 31, 2019. REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli

(Reuters) - Kenya's half marathon record holder Kibiwott Kandie says he is shifting his focus to the 10,000 metres as he looks to earn a ticket for this year's Tokyo Olympics and help end his country's 53-year wait for a gold medal in the event.

Kandie smashed the half marathon world record by 29 seconds at the Valencia Half Marathon last month, finishing in 57 minutes and 32 seconds and breaking the previous record of 58:01 set by compatriot Geoffrey Kamworor in September 2019.

Kenya's last Olympic gold in the 10,000m came in 1968 when Naftali Temu triumphed in Mexico City, and Kandie is hoping to go one better than Paul Tergat and Paul Tanui, who won silver in 2000 and 2016 respectively.

"I have the drive to prove to the world that I can also perform in track, that is why I made a decision to compete in a 10,000m event with the aim of securing an Olympic ticket," Kandie told the Xinhua news agency.

"I will be more than happy to see the Kenyan flag being hoisted for the 10,000m in Tokyo.

"I know we, as a country, haven't posted the best results in 10,000m recently but I believe with team work and early preparations we will be able to achieve good results in the Tokyo Games."

The Tokyo Olympics are due to take place from July 23 to Aug. 8 after being pushed back by a year because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

(Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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