Tactical errors cost Kenyan men victory in 800 metres, 1,500m and 3,000m at last weekend’s World Indoor Championships in Istanbul.
Pre-race favourite Augustine Choge and Edwin Soi settled for silver and bronze, respectively, in the 3,000m race as Kenyan-born American Bernard Lagat retained the title.
The 2010 World Indoor silver medallist Boaz Lalang, who was regarded as clear favourite, and youngster Timothy Tum lost in their respective 800m semi-final races while Silas Kiplagat fizzled to a distant seventh in the 1,500m final after Bethwell Birgen fell in the semi-finals.
“My performance for sure was not as I expected and I have myself to blame after a tactical mistake,” Lalang lamented. “I took the pace too early and relaxed on the home stretch with 50 metres to go.”
Lalang however promised a ruthless comeback as he sounded a warning ahead of the London Olympic Games. He and reigning World champion and record holder David Rudisha are favourites to succeed retired 2008 Olympic champion Wilfred Bungei.
With his superb Grand Prix performance, Choge was equally disappointed: “Our tactics backfired after we allowed a mentally strong Lagat to control the proceedings.”
Team manager Barnabas Korir however praised the nine-man team.