By Nick Butler

Mo Farah will face the world's best when he makes his debut over 26.2 miles in London ©AFP/Getty ImagesJanuary 14 - Reigning world and Olympic gold medallist Stephen Kiprotich, world record holder Wilson Kipsang and defending champion Tsegaye Kebede will be among the formidably tough opposition when Mo Farah makes his full debut at the Virgin London Marathon, it was announced today.

Uganda's Kiprotich won the last gold medal of London 2012 when he held his nerve to win over the final miles - his country's first Olympic title in any sport for 40 years - and he proved his Championship pedigree again last year by taking the World title in Moscow.

While Kiprotich holds the medals, it is Kipsang who will perhaps offer the toughest test as the Kenyan runs his first marathon since he broke the world record in Berlin last September with a time of 2 hours 3min 23sec.

Kipsang, the Olympic bronze medallist as well as winner of the London Marathon in 2012, will be seeking amends following his disappointing fifth place finish last year. 

Stephen Kiprotich and Wilson Kipsang will each return to the streets on which they won Olympic gold and bronze in 2012 ©AFP/Getty ImagesStephen Kiprotich and Wilson Kipsang will each return to the streets on which they won Olympic gold and bronze in 2012 ©AFP/Getty Images

Course record holder Emmanuel Mutai, second last year, joins Kipsang in a strong Kenyan squad which also includes 2012 Paris Marathon champion Stanley Biwott, as well as Geoffrey Mutai.

Geoffrey Mutai won the 2011 Boston Marathon in the fastest ever marathon time of 2:03:02, although it did not qualify as an official record because of the nature of the course, while his other victories include at the New York City Marathon in 2011 and 2013.

Taking the challenge to the Kenyans will be Kebede, Ethiopia's defending London Marathon champion, who will be chasing a third victory in Britain's capital after also winning in 2010.

Kebede will be joined by fellow countrymen in Ayele Abshero, Feyisa Lilesa, and another marathon debutant, Ibrahim Jeilan.

Jeilan's entry will be of special interest to Farah as he was the man who defeated Farah over 10,000 metres at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu before winning the silver medal behind him in Moscow last year.

2013 champion Tsegaye Kebede will also return to target another victory ©AFP/Getty ImagesLondon Marathon 2013 champion Tsegaye Kebede will also return to target another victory ©AFP/Getty Images

One Ethiopian who will not be present, but will be sure to have an eye on the outcome, is the 5,000m and 10,000m world record holder Kenenisa Bekele, who is also set to make his marathon debut in April but at Paris instead of London.

Bekele beat Farah at the Great North Run last September although Farah feels that that race, as well his run to halfway in last year's London Marathon, will help him when he takes on the whole distance for the first time.

"I gained a lot of valuable experience running part of the course alongside the top guys last year and can't wait to race over the full distance this April," said Farah.

"The London Marathon always attracts the world's best runners to its elite fields and this year will be no different.

"I am expecting it to be one of my toughest races and a real learning experience.

"I had another great year on the track in 2013, but the marathon is my main focus for this year.

"As a young boy growing up in London it has always been my ambition to run the London Marathon and to be able to make my marathon debut in my home town is very special."

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September 2013: Treble beats double as Bekele outsprints Farah at Great North Run
April 2013:
Kebede's perfect timing earns him second Virgin London Marathon title as Farah learns "biggest lesson"
January 2013: Olympic champion Kiprotich returns to do battle with Kenyans at 2013 Virgin London Marathon