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We will win fight against coronavirus, says marathon great Kipchoge

Video credit: Reuters - Sports
Published on March 30, 2020 - Duration: 07:29s

We will win fight against coronavirus, says marathon great Kipchoge

The world's best marathon runner Eliud Kipchoge says "We will win this fight against the COVID-19" but has yet to decide if he will compete at the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

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We will win fight against coronavirus, says marathon great Kipchoge

SHOWS: ELDORET, KENYA (MARCH 28, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) ELIUD KIPCHOGE, SAYING: "I think when the virus is over then I'll have three to four months of really serious training for me to compete again, which I think the whole world will hopefully beat this virus in the next one month and maybe May we are able to come back to our training and resume in a big way and we'll win this fight against COVID-19." 2.

WHITE FLASH 3.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) ELIUD KIPCHOGE, SAYING: "I'm totally concentrating on myself, I'm totally concentrating on the safety of the whole family and that's all because it's still highly.... the virus has hit us in a hard way and actually in an unprepared way.

That's why we need to focus on all the people - my family and myself - basically on how we'll be safe for the months to come." 4.

WHITE FLASH 5.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) ELIUD KIPCHOGE, SAYING: "I was just relaxing and I got the news that Olympic Games 2020 - Tokyo 2020 - has been postponed to maybe next year.

I was a little bit shocked but then I had to go back and just think more.

But I think and then I said it's not a bad idea to actually postpone.

You know the Olympic Games is whereby everybody wants to participate, everybody wants to compete... it's in the dreams of every sportsman in this world." 6.

WHITE FLASH 7.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) ELIUD KIPCHOGE, SAYING: "I think it's a great time for us to go back, train again and the whole Olympic world will come back when we are really with a lot of energy." 8.

WHITE FLASH 9.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) ELIUD KIPCHOGE, SAYING: "Oh yes I'm still running in the morning.

I really run and trying to keep fit.

All the races have been suspended and maybe the first race will be at the end of September or even the beginning of October depending on how the COVID-19 will actually go away." 10.

WHITE FLASH 11.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) ELIUD KIPCHOGE, SAYING: "My priority number one as far as sport is concerned is teamwork.

You know, you cannot perform to the excellent standards without the team so for all those years I've been training with the whole team and now that I'm running alone it's really different and I'm missing mostly them and I miss running with the whole team.

I enjoy running and above all sitting together and sharing some stories." 12.

WHITE FLASH 13.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) ELIUD KIPCHOGE, SAYING: "When I have people around me it's really easy but when I'm running alone, you know, it's hard to run alone.

When you have people around the pace is OK and you just talk when you are running and we enjoy to run but this is what I said you need to keep training and run by your own, do your own things but above all I'm trying to keep more fit in case this virus disappears very soon and we'll resume and start our training and our lives again." 14.

WHITE FLASH 15.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) ELIUD KIPCHOGE, SAYING: "I'll still be there but I'm seeing myself still running again in 2021.

You know this is still hard to say some things but let the year ahead (come) first and we'll make a big decision after the year ended." 16.

WHITE FLASH 17.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) ELIUD KIPCHOGE, SAYING: "My message to the whole sporting fraternity, to the whole world, is we're in our compounds or in our houses during this time of COVID-19 but all in all it's get yourself something to do within the compound; just have some steps to run on, just let us keep fit.

Let us keep fit both physically and mentally by reading some newspapers, be with the family, watch good movies together which helps makes the days move and you get more knowledge.

So that's my message but above all is that you should be disciplined.

In order to be fit we should be disciplined and respect what the World Health Organization has said and together within a couple of months to come this COVID-19 will go away." LONDON, ENGLAND, UK (RECENT - APRIL 29, 2019) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 18.

VARIOUS OF KIPCHOGE POSING FOR THE CAMERAS AFTER WINNING THE LONDON MARATHON 19.

CAMERAS 20.

VARIOUS OF KIPCHOGE POSING OXFORD, ENGLAND, UK (FILE - APRIL 30, 2019) (MEDIA ZOO - ACCESS ALL) 21.

KIPCHOGE POSING BESIDE SIGN READING "1.59.00" 22.

KIPCHOGE'S SNEAKERS 23.

VARIOUS OF KIPCHOGE POSING VIENNA, AUSTRIA (FILE - OCTOBER 12, 2019) (REUTERS PICTURES - ACCESS ALL) (MUTE) 24.

STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF KIPCHOGE CROSSING THE FINISH LINE AS HE BECOMES THE FIRST PERSON TO TO RUN A MARATHON IN UNDER TWO HOURS 25.

STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF KIPCHOGE CELEBRATING ELDORET, KENYA (OCTOBER 12, 2019) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 26.

CROWD CHEERING AS KIPCHOGE BREAKS THE TWO-HOUR RECORD NAIROBI, KENYA (OCTOBER 12, 2019) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 27.

PEOPLE DANCING AND CHANTING 'KIPCHOGE KIPCHOGE' MONZA, ITALY (FILE - MAY 6, 2017) (NIKE VNR - ACCESS ALL) 28.

KIPCHOGE RUNNING WITH OTHERS IN HIS FIRST ATTEMPT TO BREAK TWO-HOUR MARATHON 29.

VIEW OF RUNNERS ON TRACK 30.

KIPCHOGE DRINKING FLUID 31.

VARIOUS OF KIPCHOGE APPROACHING FINISHING LINE 32.

KIPCHOGE CROSSES FINISHING LINE 2:00:23, LATER REVISED TO 2:00:25 33.

KIPCHOGE AFTER RACE TOKYO, JAPAN (FILE - DECEMBER 15, 2019) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 34.

OLYMPIC RINGS OUTSIDE NATIONAL STADIUM 35.

VARIOUS EXTERIORS OF NATIONAL STADIUM 36.

VARIOUS INTERIORS OF NATIONAL STADIUM 37.

WOODEN BEAMS IN STADIUM ROOF 38.

VARIOUS INTERIORS OF NATIONAL STADIUM TOKYO, JAPAN (FILE - JANUARY 17, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 39.

CUSTOMERS INSIDE AN ASICS STORE 40.

CUSTOMERS CHECKING RUNNING SHOES 41.

RUNNING SHOES BEING DISPLAYED, PRINTED LETTERS READING (English): "TOKYO 2020" RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL (FILE - AUGUST 21, 2016) (REUTERS PICTURES - ACCESS ALL) (MUTE) 42.

STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF KIPCHOGE WINNING THE MEN'S MARATHON RACE AT THE 2016 RIO OLYMPICS RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL (FILE - AUGUST 21, 2016) (REUTERS PICTURES - ACCESS ALL) (MUTE) 43.

STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF KIPCHOGE WITH HIS OLYMPIC GOLD MEDAL STORY: Eliud Kipchoge, the world's greatest marathon man, reckoned his first reaction was shock when he heard at home in Kenya that the 2020 Olympic Games had been postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak.

That shock soon gave way to disappointment -- but then defiance.

"We will win this fight against the COVID-19," the barrier-breaking Kenyan, who's widely considered the world's finest runner, said in an interview with Reuters.

And the man who last year became the first to run a marathon in under two hours confirmed he can see himself refreshed and ready to defend his marathon title in a rearranged Tokyo Olympics next year.

For the moment, though, the 35-year-old insists his only concern is to care for his family at their home in Eldoret.

"I am totally concentrating on my safety, I am totally concentrating on the safety of the whole family," he said.

"The virus has really hit us in a hard way.

That's why you need to focus." Kipchoge explained he had been relaxing at home when he heard of the Tokyo postponement.

"I was a little shocked and I had to go back, just to think more.

I think and then I said, 'it's not a bad idea to actually postpone'.

"You know the Olympic Games is whereby everybody wants to participate ... it's in the dreams of every sportsman in this world.." Kipchoge thinks a delayed Olympics could actually benefit his title defence.

"It's a great time for us to go back, train again and we will come back with a lot of energy," he said.

The pandemic has led to the postponement or cancellation of sporting events around the world, including the London Marathon, which next month was scheduled to be Kipchoge's first outing since October's landmark one hour, 59 minutes, 40 seconds run in Vienna.

Even though the run in Austria did not count as a world record because of the special conditions, the feat captured the world's imagination and brought Kipchoge a whole new level of fame.

London had promised the mouth-watering prospect of a head-to-head with Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele, the only other sub-2.02 marathoner, but Kipchoge said he was yet to think too far ahead about competing in the rescheduled race on Oct.

4.

Kenya has confirmed 42 coronavirus cases, including one fatality, with the country having imposed restrictive measures to arrest the spread of the disease.

It even affects their brilliant runners.

So Kipchoge misses the camaraderie of running with his team mates, hanging out with them afterwards and telling stories.

"It's hard to run alone.

When you have people around, the pace is okay, you just talk when you are running.

You enjoy the run," said Kipchoge, who hopes to resume serious training by May.

Asked whether the Olympics could be his last race, Kipchoge said it was too early to say.

"I am seeing myself still running again in 2021," he said.

"Let the year ahead (come) first, we will make a big decision after the year ended." In the meantime, Kipchoge has enjoyed spending time with his wife Grace and their three children, reading, visiting his farm and respecting government instructions about staying home as much as possible.

"Have some steps to run on, just let us keep fit.

Read some newspapers, be with the family, watch good movies together," is his message to other athletes.

"Together within a couple of months to come, this COVID-19 will go away.

"My priority number one is to get the virus away, come back with one mind, one thinking, one line of actually standing and competing." (Production: Tim Hart)

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