For one of the finest distance runners in the world, Brigid Kosgei, the 2020 Airtel Delhi Half Marathon (ADHM) is a tune-up for the biggest race of her career - Tokyo Olympics.
Speaking at the pre-race press conference on Thursday, the Kenyan underlined her ambition of winning a gold medal at the Games and said that every event that she competes is in preparation for the ‘big one’.
“The preparations for the Olympics are on, though at a slow pace given the (COVID-19 pandemic) situation,” the Kenyan said.
“But my target is to win that gold at Tokyo 2020. In the coming months, I will take the training a few notches higher.
“I think every event I compete forms a part of my training. My focus is on the Olympic gold. Everything I do till that race is a part of my training. Even here, it's a strong field. For me, everyone is an achiever. I see a very tough race on Sunday.”
Brigid Kosgei has been the talk of the running community ever since her record-breaking feat at the 2019 Chicago Marathon.
The 26-year-old Kosgei produced an incredible run last year to break Paula Radcliffe’s 16-year-old world record in the women's marathon. The Kenyan continued her form to win the London Marathon as well.
Brigid Kosgei returned to the English capital to successfully defend her London Marathon crown six weeks ago.
It’s on the back of this form that the top-ranked runner in a full marathon will hit the New Delhi streets on Sunday for the ADHM. But the Kenyan realises her job won’t be easy.
“After London, I took 10 days off, but I have since had six weeks of very good preparation for this race,” Kosgei said.
“I have a good record in half marathons, but I am not going to make predictions about this race as it is a very tough field. Some of the ladies may be better prepared as they competed at the World Half Marathon Championships last month.”
Hoping to pose a stiff challenge to Brigid Kosgei at ADHM 2020 will be the two-time defending champion in New Delhi, Tsehay Gemechu of Ethiopia.
The 21-year-old Gemechu, predominantly a track runner, has run just three half marathons in her short career so far, winning all the three. While two of her wins have come in New Delhi, she was also victorious at the Egmond Half Marathon in the Netherlands earlier this year.
While the pandemic brought life to a standstill soon after, Tsehay Gemechu informed that her training continued without many hiccups.
“I think all of us have been training well. There have barely been concerns on that front,” Gemechu said.
“The only change is that we no longer train in groups. It’s down to individual training. And with no competitions to look forward to for most of the season, the athletes have come back hungrier at every event post the pandemic.”