Thursday, July 30, 2009

Kivuva relishing underdog tag

Jackson Kivuva  in training at the Nyayo National Stadium yesterday. He is preparing for the World Championships in Athletics to be held in Berlin next month and is confident of stealing the 800m title.

Jackson Kivuva in training at the Nyayo National Stadium yesterday. He is preparing for the World Championships in Athletics to be held in Berlin next month and is confident of stealing the 800m title. Photo/MOHAMMED AMIN 

By CHRIS MUSUMBA

Jackson Mumbwa Kivuva believes a spoiler will emerge and win the 800 metres gold medal at the Berlin World Championships in Athletics. And that spoiler will be himself.

Going to Berlin as an underdog, Kivuva, the Beijing 2006 world junior silver medallist in the two lap race, said it was time he stepped into his mentor, Joseph Mutua’s, shoes and retain the title Kenya won in Osaka through Alfred Kirwa, then also unknown, a couple of years back.

“Look how Kirwa did it in Osaka, no one expected him to win. It will be the same case with me in Berlin,” Kivuva said yesterday.

“I want to win gold and I have been training for nothing short of that.”

But Kivuva is alive with the challenge his compatriots Kirwa and Africa champion David Rudisha will pose. He also singled out Sudan’s pair of Abubakar Kaki, the world junior champion, and Olympic silver medallist, Ismail Ahmed Ismail, Gary Speed (Canada) and Yuriy Borzakovskiy (Russia) as potential winners.

“But they should rule me out at their own peril."

“Of course I am not looking at the gold now, but need the qualification to the final first."

Village mate
“After the hard work, the title will be up for us to battle for and I hope it will be my chance,” he said.

For Kivuva, athletics was not his choice of sport while in school yet, he just found himself attracted to it. All that Jackson Kivuva wanted was to be like his mentor and village mate Mutua, the 2003 world military games 800m champion.

“I went to Kasarani in 2006 to see him train. I had heard about him and we ran together and I introduced myself. I told him I wanted to win like him and since then, I have always been focused on winning the world title,” said Kivuva yesterday.

He started running while at Syanamu Primary school in 2002, but Kivuva who turns 20 on August 11, took his foot off the acceleration pedal when he joined Kinyui high School in Kangundo. But inspired by Mutua, Kivuva made another attempt in 2005 and was selected to represent Kenya in Marrakech, Morocco in the World Youth Championship.

He won silver medal in 1:48.57. A year later he claimed the same feat at the World Junior championship in Beijing. But he improved his personal best time to 1:47.64.

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