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Kipchoge to compete in Hamburg Marathon before Tokyo Games

FILE PHOTO: Athletics - London Marathon - London, Britain - October 4, 2020 Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge during the elite men's race. Pool via REUTERS/Richard Heathcote

(Reuters) - Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge will compete at the Hamburg Marathon in April as he steps up preparations for his Olympic title defence, the marathon world record holder said on Thursday.

Kipchoge, who set the world record of 2:01:39 in Berlin on Sept. 2018, is vying to become the third man to win successive Olympic titles after his victory in Rio in 2016.

The Tokyo Olympics, postponed in March last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, is due to begin on July 23.

"In Hamburg, I am going back to the genesis of my marathon career," tweeted here Kipchoge, who won in Hamburg on his marathon debut in 2013.

The 36-year-old, the first man to run a marathon in less than two hours, in an unofficial race, finished eighth in his last outing at the London Marathon in October.

The Hamburg Marathon, scheduled for April 11, will feature about 100 elite athletes on a looped 10.5 km course.

Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by David Goodman