Rio on the minds of London Marathon contenders


The prospect of securing a place at the Rio Games is set to be a major motivating factor for a number of the leading contenders at Sunday's London Marathon.

While there is plenty of prestige attached to winning one of the six World Marathon Majors in any year, this weekend's race takes on additional importance with the Olympics a little over three months away.

Kenya's Florence Kiplagat - second to namesake Edna Kiplagat in London two years ago - narrowly missed out on selection for the previous Olympics in England's capital and is determined not to suffer the same fate again.

"I need to go to the Olympics because in 2012, in the track I was position four [in the Kenyan trials] and in the marathon the same, position four. So this year, my God, I need to go and I'll make sure I go," said Kiplagat.

"Anything can happen, but Rio de Janiero is my dream.

"I need to be number one in London. My desire is to be in Olympics and I think they'll be selecting after London so hopefully I'll be there."

Priscah Jeptoo, another Kenyan who won the London Marathon in 2013, echoed her compatriot's sentiments, adding: "I need a good run on Sunday for the Olympics so that I'll be selected.

"Since I got an injury in 2014 here in London, it created a lot of problems. But now I'm okay and trying to come back and hopefully I can run close to my personal best on Sunday."

Tigist Tufa of Ethiopia is the defending women's champion, while two-time winner Mary Keitany - last year's runner-up - and Mare Dibaba are also expected to challenge.

In the men's race, the Kenyan trio of Eliud Kipchoge, Dennis Kimetto and Wilson Kipsang will start as the favourites.

Kipchoge pipped Kipsang - the champion in 2012 and 2014 - to glory 12 months ago as world-record holder Kimetto took third.

Another headline act is Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia, a legend of the track who has been hampered by injuries since winning in Paris on his marathon debut in April 2014.