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Rudisha in Olympic gold pledge

Friday June 22 2012

David Rudisha (centre) at a past IAAF Super Grand Prix meeting. Photo/FILE

David Rudisha (centre) at a past IAAF Super Grand Prix meeting. Photo/FILE 

By AYUMBA AYODI [email protected]

Only misfortune can deny David Rudisha being installed as Olympic 800 metres king come next month’s London Games.

Rudisha’s coronation in the two-lap race is the news that the reigning champion, Wilfred Bungei, will be waiting to hear.

That is why Rudisha, who is expected to win his race trials at Nyayo National Stadium today nice and easy, is under pressure.

“I know the pressure is immense but I will give Kenyans what they want, God willing, since I am working hard towards that target,” said Rudisha, who is basking in his one minute, 41.09 seconds world record and a season best 1:41.74.

Beijing Olympic bronze medallist Alfred Kirwa (1:44.1) and new talents Job Kinyor (1:43.8) and Timothy Kitum (1:44.0) are also in contention in Saturday's 800m finals.

The 1,500m should produce some exciting moments when Olympic and World champion Asbel Kiprop takes on World silver medallist Silas Kiplagat (personal best 3:29.27), who has season best 3:29.63 from a May 11 victory in Doha.

Africa champion Kiprop nonetheless welcomed his rivalry with Kiplagat, saying it will enhance the most desirable results in London.

Interestingly, Kiprop clocked PB 3:29.78 when losing to Commonwealth Games champion Kiplagat in Doha.

But Kiprop is firm that his dream is to win it clear this time round in London, having received his gold from Beijing four years later in Nairobi.

In Beijing, Kiprop ran 3:33.11, losing to Helsinki 2005 World champion Rashid Ramzi of Bahrain, but the result was overturned and the latter banned for two years after testing positive for the banned blood-boosting substance CERA.

Rivalry is healthy

Besides the leggy Kiprop and Kiplagat, focus is also on 2011 Diamond League winner Nixon Chepseba, who triumphed in Hengelo on May 25 with a third season best 3:29.90, and Bethwel Birgen, who ran PB 3:31.17 after finishing behind Kiplagat and Kiprop in Doha.

“Our rivalry is healthy and we should expect a fast race, with the first lap going at 50 or 51 seconds with no rabbits in the race,” said Kiprop.

“I am considering these trials as an Olympic final since you fail here and you live to regret for the next four years,” explained Kiplagat.

The 5,000m is also close, with Beijing Olympics silver medallist and Athens 2004 bronze winner Eliud Kipchoge, 2009 World Youth 3,000m champion Isaiah Kiplangat and Beijing Olympics 5,000m bronze medallist Edwin Soi in contention.

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