Japan-based long distance runner Paul Tanui has represented Kenya six times but his cabinet is dotted with either silver or bronze medals.
The 27-year-old claimed his maiden championships medal when he won silver in senior men’s race at the 2011 Punta Umbria World Cross Country Championships, a year after finishing eighth at the 2010 Bydgoszcz World Cross Country event.
His major breakthrough on track came at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow where he settled for bronze in 10,000m but would go on to replicate the show at 2015 Beijing and 2017 London World Championships.
Before the London World Championship, Tanui almost came close to breaking the golden jinx but had to settle for silver at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, losing the battle to Mo Farah.
The unrelenting Tanui now sees the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games due April 4-15 as the most opportune time to strike gold this time round.
However, Tanui, who has been training in Kericho since returning to the country 45 days ago, reckons that even though he is the favourite ahead of Saturday’s “Club” Games trials at Kasarani, he can’t rest on his laurels.
KAMWOROR, KAROKI OUT
For the first time in many years, Tanui will not be facing his arch-rivals Geoffrey Kamworor and Bedan Karoki, who have skipped the trials, opting to prepare for the World Half Marathon planned for March 24 in Valencia, Spain.
“I know all the eyes will be on me but Kenya is a factory of long distance running athletes and you can’t even afford to blink,” said Tanui. “I really want that elusive gold medal but I must pull through the trials first and hope for the best in Gold Coast.”
Tanui, who has been training under coach Gabriel Kiptanui in Kericho, said his body is in great shape, ready for the battle as he seeks his maiden show at the “Club” Games.
Tanui will face 12 other athletes, who will be competing for the three slots available for the Gold Coast Games.
They include the reigning Commonwealth Games 3,000m steeplechase champion Jonathan Muia, who has scaled to the 25-lap race, Charles Mneria, who represented Kenya in 5,000m at the Rio Olympic Games and 2012 World Junior 5,000m bronze medallist William Sitonik.
Kenya failed to recapture the 10,000m during the 2014 Glasgow Games, where Jonathan Bett settled for silver, losing the battle to Uganda’s Moses Kipsiro, who successfully defended his crown.
Athletics Kenya (AK) has indicated that the trials will only be held on Saturday adding that they have sought special accreditation to some elite athletes who had not registered for the Games.
AK public relations officer Evans Bosire said that the 1-2-3 across the line selection criteria will be used save for 5000m women, where Hellen Obiri wil get the wild card.
Kenya intends to pick a team of 65 athletes: 36 men and 29 women for the Gold Coast “Club” Games.
The country topped the medal standings in athletics at the 2014 Glasgow Games in Scotland with 23 medals: 10 gold, 10 silver and three bronze.