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Jelimo set for her maiden race in England

Monday December 29 2008

Pamela Jelimo of Kenya celebrates winning the gold medal with silver medallist Janeth Jepkosgei Busienei of Kenya after competing in the women's 800m final of the athletics competition in the National Stadium at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.  PHOTO/ FILE

Pamela Jelimo of Kenya celebrates winning the gold medal with silver medallist Janeth Jepkosgei Busienei of Kenya after competing in the women's 800m final of the athletics competition in the National Stadium at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. PHOTO/ FILE 

By CHRIS MUSUMBA and IAAF

Olympic 800 metres gold medallist, Pamela Jelimo, will make her first appearance in the United Kingdom at the Aviva Grand Prix in Birmingham in February.

The 19-year-old, who only began running the 800m in April this year, has had a dazzling debut year and is looking ahead to a new challenge in the UK where she will run in the Mile at the National Indoor Arena, set to be one of the highlights of the indoor season.

Already making her name as one of the most exciting young international talents, Jelimo, who has never raced farther than 800m, is excited about making her debut UK appearance.

“I’ve had a great year, I’m so very happy.

“I can’t describe how life-changing this year has been for me.

“To achieve so much in such a short time has surprised me. I would never have thought I would be in such a position at this point in my career.

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“To have the opportunity to run in the UK is amazing. I’ve never run indoors before so it’s good to set myself a new challenge.

“I think it will be great preparation for hopefully another successful year.”

Being the first Kenyan woman to win an Olympic gold and the golden league jackpot, Jelimo has become a superstar at her Koro village in the Rift Valley.

Local newspapers now track her every move and the government have erected a giant billboard in her honour.

Jelimo, who was also crowned ‘Revelation of the Year’ at the IAAF World Athletics Gala will be running the mile at the Aviva Grand Prix in Birmingham on Saturday February 21.

She will then head to Prague for her second indoor meet at the Czech capital city planned for February 26.

“I will train even harder than now and I think I can do it, but as I never run indoors so far, I cannot say for sure,” confirmed Jelimo. “But it is always good to break the preparation with some competitions.”

During the World Athletics Gala in Monaco, Jelimo met for the first with Kratochvilova, the Czech holder of the oldest current World record, the women’s 800m.

“She is a nice person, a good lady, she gave me some advice especially that I need to improve my speed endurance. Look at her bests at 100, 200 and 400m, she was lot faster than me,” said Jelimo.

Kratochvilova replied: “She has the biggest potential from current runners to break my 800 m record. The margin 0.73 in normal life is nothing, but in running it is still a lot. But she has a good chance.”

Double World champion Bernard Lagat of the US has also confirmed his participation at 1500m in Birmingham.

“I was really happy with most of my season last year however unfortunately I picked up an injury mid July that was the worst possible time before Beijing. That was very disappointing for me but that is behind me now and I’m very focused on defending my titles at the World Championships in Berlin.

"Birmingham is the ideal opportunity to test myself against a competitive field at the start of the year. The Birmingham crowd love their athletics and I look forward to putting on a good show for them.”

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