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Paul Kosgei : All Set for the Vattenfall Berlin Half-Marathon on sunday

The halfmarathon seemed to be his best distance

2006-03-31

Paul Kosgei and Luminita Zaituc with her bib numbers for the Vattenfall BERLIN HALF-MARATHON on Sunday.
© Victah Sailer

Paul Kosgei is the athlete with the most impressive credentials in the Vattenfall Berlin Half-Marathon on Sunday. The 27-year-old Kenyan used to be a steeplechaser, ran a junior world record and finished seventh at the 1999 World Championships in Seville. Two years later at the World Championships in Edmonton he was again seventh, this time over 10,000 metres. In 2002 he was African champion for the distance as well as second at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester. He was equally successful in cross-country. Kosgei twice took third place over the 4 kms short course (1998 and 2000) as well as finishing second on one occasion (1999).

In 2000 he set a world record of 27:03 for 10 km on the road, yet the half-marathon seemed to be his best distance : he was world champion in 2002 and four years ago set his personal best of 59:58 in winning the Great North Run (Newcastle – South Shields).

World record in Berlin in the 25 km race 

Paul Kosgei is used to making a name for himself in Berlin. Two years ago he set the world record in the Berlin 25 km with 1:12:45. Haile Gebrselassie recently improved that mark but the record is yet to be officially recognised. “I am still the world record holder. But records are there to be broken. I would love to run against Haile in Berlin,” said Kosgei and added : “My training has gone well and am not afraid of any opponent. I can’t make promises but hope that I’m back in top form.” He had spent much of last year suffering from injuries.

No marathon debut

Originally Paul Kosgei, who like many Kenyan runners is in the armed forces, had planned to move to the marathon after the 25 km world record. He’s yet to make that marathon debut. But the Vattenfall Berlin Half-Marathon gives him the chance to show he remains a force to be reckoned with. His coach is the Italian Renato Canova who advises, among others, the steeplechase world champion Said Saeed Shaheen (Qatar). Shaheen caused a stir when, as a Kenyan, he took Qatari nationality and changed his name. Yet Paul Kosgei said : “There was never a possibility of me switching to Qatar, that was never a question.

"I’m running for Kenya.”   

 

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