Moses Masai, the world 10,000m bronze medallist, has not given his hope of making it to Berlin for the World Championship despite finishing outside the two automatic slots reserved for the Kenyan team when he came fourth at Nyayo National Stadium.
With the wild car verdict out of his hands, Masai who clocked 27:44.88, behind Sammy Kitwara 27.44.46, Gideon Ngatuny 27:44.77 and Bernard Kipyego 27:44.80 is now casting his bait to hook a ticket in the 5,000m during the New KCC national trials on July 25.
“I had an ankle strain which limited my sprinting in the final 100m. It costme the race but it has now healed. I had not trained well since April,” said Masai, fourth at the Olympic Games in Beijing.
The Iten-based athlete, decried the sudden change of trial dates for the 10,000m as one of the cause for his poor show having just returned from University of Limerick in Ireland, where he had gone for medical examination over his ankle.
“My competitors deserved to win, but the coaches also need to blend the two with someone who has familiarity in running the 10,000m race. The two (Kitwara and Ngatunyi) are experienced road runners and might not be good in reaction when the race is started in Berlin,” he said.
He urged athletics Kenya coaches and the two selected athletes not to rest on the laurels after the explosive trials, but put in more effort to and peak at the right time in August.
Masai, who was one of the athletes lined up to run in Friday’s Oslo Golden League meeting in Norway over the shorter 5,000m distance, failed to honour the meeting saying he will train locally until until after the trials.
Only Abraham Chebii (12:52.99) and Edwin Soi, the world bronze medallist in 5,000m will be challenging Olympic champion Kenenisa Bekele in his bid to win the jackpot in the 12-lap race.
Bekele tasted one of his rare track defeats at the hands of Isaac Songok in 2006 in Oslo when he finished second in 12:58.22 to the Kenyan’s 12:55.79 time.
At the same time, Eliud Kipchoge, 2003 World champion, who set a new world seasonal best for 5000m at 12:56.46 in Milan on last week, said he has more to show as he prepares for the trials in a race that has over 20 elite runners competing for the three tickets to Berlin.
Kipchoge, who ran 13:00.91 in Hengelo, however, said it will be an open race that will not be decided by past records when the trials are held in three weeks time.
“Everyone will come with high hopes of making the team. It will never be easy especially now that those who were eying the 10,000m and failed to impress will look at it as a soft landing spot,” he said.
Kipchoge will run one race in Lausanne, Switzerland before the trials. He cautioned against underrating anyone but noted that his fall in the trials for world cross country in Amman, will inspire him to see the ticket to Berlin where he hopes to reclaim he last won in 2003, then as an 18 year old.
“The focus now is on the trials. I will not discuss Berlin for now. No one will come anticipating losing which will make the race more challenging. That is enough trouble for me to think about for now,” he said.