translated by Brett Larner
Beijing Olympics men's marathon gold medalist Samuel Wanjiru, 22, in Tokyo for a Nov. 28 press conference announcing his sponsorship deal with Meiji Seika, spoke to reporters afterwards. "Next year I'll run 2:03," he predicted, boldly stating his intention to break the current world record of 2:03:59.
Wanjiru's schedule for 2009 includes an overseas half marathon early in the year, followed by an attempt to break his marathon PB at April's London Marathon. His current mark of 2:05:24, set at this year's London, already makes him the 5th-fastest man of all time. Following London, Wanjiru intends to run in either August's Berlin World Track and Field Championships marathon or September's Berlin Marathon. With the world record in mind he is favoring the Berlin Marathon, saying, "It's a flat course and easy to run." Wanjiru's personal coach Katsushi Fuchiwaki told reporters, "At some point in his career Wanjiru will go for 2:02."
Wanjiru came to Japan from his native Kenya to study at Miyagi Prefecture's Sendai Ikuei High School, going on to run for Team Toyota Kyushu after his graduation. During the summer he negotiated with Meiji Seika for a sponsorship deal which took effect on Nov. 1. The terms of the deal include Wanjiru's endorsement of the company's Savas sports supplement in TV commercials. The agreement between the two parties will be renewed on an annual basis at least through the 2012 London Olympics.