Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge takes gold at men’s marathon

Eliud Kipchoge is set to go back-to-back after claiming gold in Rio. Credit:Getty

Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya has won the Tokyo Olympics men’s marathon on Sunday, his second gold for the event after Rio 2016.

Kipchoge becomes only the third runner to have achieved back-to-back gold medals in Olympic marathon, further cementing his place among the all-time marathon greats.

The 36-year-old holds the world record with a time of 2:01:39 set in Berlin in 2018 and became the only man to break the two-hour barrier at an unofficial race in 2019.

“I am very excited to be here in the Olympic village in Japan,” Kipchoge tweeted along with a photo of himself taken in front of the Olympic rings in the village before the race.

“It is great that we are able to run the Olympic marathon in these unusual times. On Sunday, I will try to defend my Olympic marathon title from Rio de Janeiro. I cannot wait to witness a wonderful event.

“Niko tayari,” he said, meaning “I am ready” in Swahili.

Kipchoge joins Ethiopia’s Abebe Bikila (1960 and 1964) and East Germany’s Waldemar Cierpinski (1976 and 1980) as the only runners to win two consecutive gold medals on the Olympic stage.

Runners take water at the refreshment point while competing in the men’s marathon in Sapporo, Japan, on Sunday.Credit:Getty Images

Australian Jack Rayner was battling a thigh injury in the lead-up and pulled out of the race in the early stages.

With the humidity over 75 per cent in a 31-degree day in Sapporo, competitors were dropping like flies. With 4 kilometres to go 22 runners had dropped out of the race.

But spectators gathered along the course were staying put, relishing a rare opportunity to take part in the Olympics in person.

Spectators join the fun at the Tokyo Olympics men’s marathon on Sunday.Credit:AP

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