The last time Edwin Melly represented Kenya on the track was when he was still a junior, eight years ago.
After settling for a bronze medal in the 800 metres at the 2012 Barcelona World Under-20 Championships, things have not been rosy for Melly, who has fallen short of making it to the big stage again.
Tendon and groin injuries, among other frustrations, saw Melly, who turned 26 on April 23, almost giving up before he was recruited at the Rongai Athletics Club by coach Ben Ouma last year.
Melly is now being touted as the strongest runner in “Team Cheruiyot” ahead of their battle against “Team Ingebrigtsen” in virtual Maurie Plant Memorial Race on June 11 this year.
The Maurie Plant Race that is in the memory of Maurie Plant, who was one of the most significant figures in Australian and world athletics, will be competed over 2,000m.
“Team Ingebrigtsen” comprising the Ingebrigtsen brothers, will run at the Bislett Stadium, while “Team Cheruiyot” will run at the Nyayo National Stadium.
Besides Melly, “Team Cheruiyot” has then reigning World 1,500m champion Timothy Cheruiyot, 2017 World 1,500m champion Elijah Manang’oi, Timothy Sein and Vincent Keter.
Jakob, the European 1,500m and 5,000m champion, Henrik and Filip form “Team Ingebrigtsen” that is currently training in Norway and will be joined by two other athletes to make a team of five.
Will winning the Maurie Plant Race signal Melly’s return to the big stage?
“I feel I am heading somewhere after I almost came to quitting athletics owing to injuries that frustrated me for many years,” said Melly who described it as “a great honour” getting to train with the finest metric mile athletes in the world. “You can never go wrong when you are in the midst of two world champions.
“This is one of the most disciplined and focused group I have ever trained. I can see some light at the end of the tunnel since I am gaining a lot here,” said Melly, who won the 800m final during the third leg of Athletics Kenya Track and Field Meeting in March this year.
Melly, who hinted about scaling to 1,500m, hopes for a good show at Maurie Plant race despite challenges posed by Covid-19 pandemic and adjustment to the new 2,000m distance.
“We have been doing more of endurance training than speed work. I am yet to run 2,000m but the good thing is that there are no injuries and we hope for a good show,” said Melly noting that the weather conditions in Oslo might play to the Norwegians advantage.
“But that won’t worry us since we shall be going into the race with an open mind. It will be interesting competing with people you aren’t seeing,” said Melly.
“I have come to learn that the most successful people don’t quit.”
“Melly is a dedicated and focused athlete, having undergone rough patch in the past mixed with injuries.
“He is at Rongai to rediscover his winning form and formula and we are glad to help,” said Ouma.