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Choge fires warning shots ahead of World Championships

Tuesday February 10 2015

Augustine Choge of Kenya celebrates winning the men's 1500m during the Aviva 2011 athletics Grand Prix at the National Indoor Arena, in Birmingham, England, on February 19, 2011. PHOTO | FILE |

Augustine Choge of Kenya celebrates winning the men's 1,500m during the Aviva 2011 athletics Grand Prix at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham, England, on February 19, 2011. PHOTO | FILE |  AFP

AYUMBA AYODI
By AYUMBA AYODI
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The 2006 Commonwealth Games 5,000m gold medallist Augustine Choge is determined to end a long lull with a medal bracket performance at the World Championships in Beijing, China, later this year.

The 28-year-old Choge, who is also the 2012 World Indoor 3,000m silver medallist, said he is focussed on winning a major silverware for Kenya in Beijing.

Choge, who was born in Kapsabet, won his last medal for Kenya during the 2012 World Indoor Championships. “It’s long since I won something for Kenya,” said Choge, adding that it has been tough for him in the last few years as he battled injuries.

“I am back and the body is feeling great and I hope things will be better this season. I'm now using some cross country races as build up to the World Championships,” explained Choge.

The 2003 World Youth 3,000m and 2004 World Junior 5,000m champion said he will compete at Sainsbury's Birmingham Indoor Grand Prix on February 21 before heading to New Zealand and Australia in March for the IAAF Challenge events.

“My biggest focus is the World Championship in China,” he added.

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With Choge’s interest, the national trials for the World Championships promise to be pulsating with the World 5,000m bronze medallist Isaiah Kiplangat, 2012 London Olympics 5,000m bronze medallist Thomas Longosiwa and reigning Commonwealth Games champion Caleb Mwangangi already eyeing slots in the team.

Kenya’s main challenger at the worlds could be the defending champion Mo Farah from Britain.

“There is always a high chance of Kenya winning the race at the World Championships, but we should concentre our energies on good training and focus.

“Farah and Mwangangi have been good in the past few years, but each year comes with different obstacles,” said Choge, adding that he is mentally and physically prepared for any challenge.

LONG DROUGHT

Benjamin Limo won Kenya her last World Championships gold, which was the country's seventh victory, at the 2005 Helsinki Worlds. John Ngugi is the only Kenyan to have won an Olympic 5,000m medal, a feat he accomplished at the 1998 Seoul Summer Games.

It’s at the 2006 Commonwealth Games where Choge won gold, posting a Games record time of 12 minutes, 56.41 seconds. He competed at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and finished tenth in the 1500m final.

Choge's debut at the World Championships was in 2009 where he finished fifth in the 1500m final. He was part of the Kenyan team that set a new 4x1500m relay world record, 14:36.23, in the same year. Other members of the team were William Biwott Tanui, Gideon Gathimba and Geoffrey Rono.

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