Tigist Tufa to defend London Marathon title

Tigist TufaEthiopia’s Tigist Tufa is determined to prove her victory in last year’s London Marathon was no fluke when she defends her title on Sunday.

Tufa became only the third Ethiopian woman to win the event when she denied Kenya’s Mary Keitany a third London crown on the streets of the British capital last year to come home first in a time of two hours, 23 minutes and 22 seconds.

But while Tufa may have been taken aback by the most significant win of her career, which topped the distance runner’s triumph at the 2014 Shanghai Marathon, the 29-year-old was bullish on Thursday about her prospects of a successful defence of her London title.

“I was very surprised for my victory last year,” Tufa said. “I had a lot of races in 2015 and after New York I took a break. I want to win again and I did a lot to prepare myself for this race.”

Tufa was sixth at last year’s World Championships in Beijing and her most recent marathon effort saw her come third in New York in November – a race won by Keitany.

Now Tufa is aiming for an impressive performance in London to bolster her chances of selection for the Olympic Games in Rio later this year.

“If I do run well here, I hope I will be selected and have a chance to go for the Olympic title,” she said.