Kipchoge's Olympic marathon prep switched from Hamburg

Brussels (AFP) –


Eliud Kipchoge will test his readiness for a defence of his Olympic marathon crown not in Hamburg as planned but in the Dutch city of Enschede after the race was switched due to Covid-19 restrictions in Germany.

As well as moving to the Netherlands organisers announced Wednesday the invitation-only event which serves as a Tokyo Games qualifier has been put back a week to April 18.

As defending champion and world record holder, Kipchoge does not have to concern himself with qualifying but the Kenyan has nevertheless identified the NN Mission marathon as an important stepping stone to Japan.

It will give him the chance to draw a line under his lowest ever eighth-place finish last time out in the London Marathon in October.

This will be his only trial over the 42.2-kilometre (26.2 miles) distance before the delayed Tokyo Games marathon in Sapporo.

Organisers of the one-off 70-runner elite marathon were left looking for a new home after a tightening of coronavirus lockdown restrictions in Hamburg.

Kipchoge, who set the world record of 2:01.39 in Berlin in 2018, blamed his poor performance in London on cramp and "problems with my hip".

This was the first marathon Kipchoge had failed to win after a sequence of 11 successes including the 2016 Rio Olympics since finishing second in Berlin in 2013.