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Rudisha, Jelimo leave opponents trailing in their wake

Saturday June 23 2012

David Rudisha competes during Athletics Kenya 800meters finals for London Olympics qualifiers at Nyayo Stadium. MOHAMED AMIN | NATION

MOHAMED AMIN | NATION David Rudisha competes during Athletics Kenya 800meters finals for London Olympics qualifiers at Nyayo Stadium.  

By AYUMBA AYODI [email protected]

David Rudisha won the Olympics trials at the Nyayo National Stadium on Saturday.

However, it’s “Kemboi dance” by 2004 Athens Olympic 3,000m steeplechase champion Ezekiel Kemboi that received the wildest cheers.

Olympic champion Brimin Kipruto surged ahead to put his title defence on course with 8:11.73 in the steeplechase that claimed pre-race favourite and pacesetter, Paul Kipsiele Koech, and Commonwealth and Africa champion, Richard Mateelong.

Kemboi (8:12.82) vowed a more refined top podium place “Kemboi dance” at next month’s London Games as the newly crowned national champion Abel Mutai claimed the last spot for the Summer Games.

“I love Kenyans and that is I why I had to do a jig for them so as to warm them up for the big one in London. But let them cheers us in London,” said Kemboi adding that his first agenda of qualifying is done and dusted.

“It’s now time to focus on a new plan on how to reclaim the title in won in Athens,” said Kemboi, who suffered stomach stitches to finish eighth at the 2008 Beijing Games.

“I will now have to focus on the right diet going into competition.”

Hunger to perform

Kipsiele said even though the race was tactical his legs failed in the last 400 metres after he also suffered stomach bloat. “It wasn’t about my form but rather the usual effects of high altitude,” he said.

With his eyes fixed on the stadium screen, Rudisha virtually jogged through to triumph in 1:42.12 as fast-rising Job Kinyor (1:43.94) and Timothy Kitum (1:43.96) kept toe to seal the other two places for Olympics.

Beijing bronze medallist Alfred Kirwa settled fourth, blowing his chances.

“The race was nice and easy and the only thing that can halt my charge for the Olympic glory would be an injury or illness but God has been faithful and on my side,” said Rudisha.

Olympic and World 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop almost repeated the same mistake that cost him in 2007 Osaka and 2009 Berlin Worlds and Beijing by operating from deep in the pack.

He ploughed back to settled for third (3:38.30) in the metric mile behind Daegu Worlds silver medallist Silas Kiplagat who ran the fastest time on Kenyan soil of 3:37.60 and Nixon Chepseba (3:38.00).

Kiprop, who said he will play smart in London, explained that by virtue of them having three season’s best times should send a strong message to the rest of world that a podium sweep is possible.

“There was too much traffic hence not easy to create a line,” said Kiprop.

Beijing 5,000m silver medallist Eliud Kipchoge was a major casualty over the distance as Isaiah Kiplangat Koech won in 13:09.80, the fastest time on Kenyan soil, with Beijing bronze winner Edwin Soi and Thomas Longosiwa sealing the London places.

Kiplangat wants the team’s speed refined.

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