London Marathon Kenya's Sumgong to defend title win

The 32-year-old produced a stunning display on the streets of the British capital last year.

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Kenya's Jemima Sumgong crosses the finish line to win the 2016 London Marathon play

Kenya's Jemima Sumgong crosses the finish line to win the 2016 London Marathon

(AFP)
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Olympic champion Jemima Sumgong will defend her London Marathon title on April 23, race organisers announced on Tuesday.

Sumgong, 32, produced a stunning display on the streets of the British capital last year, recovering from a heavy fall to beat a world-class field with a strong finish.

That was the prelude to a brilliant Rio 2016 where Sumgong became the first Kenyan woman to win Olympic marathon gold.

Ethiopia's world champion Mare Dibaba, third in Rio behind Bahrain's Eunice Kirwa, will all be competing in this year's London Marathon.

The quality line-up also includes Kenya's Mary Keitany, aiming to become only the fourth woman to win the London Marathon three times after completing a hat-trick of New York Marathon titles in November.

Overall, the field announced for London on Tuesday features four women who have broken the two hours 20 minute barrier

“London is the marathon every runner wants to win,” said Sumgong in a statement. “I can’t wait to return to defend my title.”

Keitany could only finish ninth in London last year after being involved in the collision that brought down Sumgong, a result that cost her a place on Kenya's Olympic team in Rio.

Now Keitany intends to prove a point on her return to England.

“I love running in London,” said Keitany.

"After the sickness I had before the race and the fall last year during the race, I want to show everyone what I can do.

"My goal is to win the Virgin Money London Marathon for the third time and to demonstrate to everybody that I could have won the Olympic Games last year if I had been selected."

There are five Kenyan and five Ethiopian runners in a field featuring Portugal's former European 10,000 metre champion Ana Dulce Felix.

"This is a stellar field and everyone who is anyone in women’s marathon running will be in London on 23 April,” said event director Hugh Brasher.

“We look forward to a fantastic race and the London crowds are certain to be out in force to cheer home the world’s greatest runners.”

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