Jelimo's season depends on Moscow Indoor success
31 January 2014, 09:24
Nairobi - Time will not be important for Pamela Jelimo when she lines up on Sunday at the Moscow Indoor meeting, her first race in over nine months.
Instead, the World Indoor Champion is keen to shake off the rust and get her career back on track as she prepares for her title defence in the 800m in Poland in March during the World Indoor Championships. Jelimo jetted out Thursday for Moscow.
"I just want to do my best. Time is of course important, but it does not matter to me at the moment. What I care most about is how I navigate off the blocks; maintain my pace and the final sprint to finish."
"I want to see what the body will give under this competitive situation against some of the world best," said Jelimo, Thursday in Nairobi. Indeed, the former Olympic Champion faces a still challenge in Moscow.
Jelimo will come up against a quality 800m field, which also includes Olympic bronze medallist Yekaterina Poistogova, 2011 European indoor champion Jenny Meadows, reigning European indoor champion Nataliia Lupu and rising Kenyan talent Nelly Jepkosgei.
"I don't say I fear these people because I can't avoid them. These are the very people I will be meeting in the season and it is a pleasure to compete against them when I am just back from injury. They will boost my confidence knowing that if I do well, it was against a classy field," she said.
Despite being the world indoor champion for the distance, this will just be Jelimo's fourth indoor 800m race to date.
It will also be something of a comeback for the 24-year-old, who had just one race in 2013, a low-key 400m run in early May.
"Injuries are part and parcel of an athletes' life. How one navigates out of it, to redeem his image and regain the fitness is what is important. I have gone through rehabilitation and believe I have done well in training."
"Now it is time to prove that on a competitive track against some of the world best," Jelimo told Xinhua.
A good performance in Moscow is so crucial to Jelimo, which she can't wait to have it off her chest. After nine months on the medical bench, Jelimo is itching to do what she loves most.
"The big challenge is to retain the World Indoor title in Poland in March. But that is not the priority at the moment, winning and having a good race to gauge my speed and reaction to different challenge and aspects of the race is what is worrying me. Moscow will clear all those doubts," Jelimo said.
Alongside a horde of other Kenya runners, Jelimo will be hoping that her spikes hold firm as she launches her 2014 season. Time will tell if she has lost her spark.
Meanwhile, another global gold medallist in the jumps, 2011 world champion Fabiana Murer, is the first big name revealed for the women's pole vault field.
Olympic bronze medallist Kellie Wells heads a U.S.-dominated 60m hurdles field. Teammates Nia Ali, Yvette Lewis and Kristi Castlin will also be taking part, alongside European indoor and outdoor silver medallist and French champion Cindy Billaud.
In the women's 60m flat, 2010 world indoor bronze medallist Ruddy Zang Milama will face U.S. duo Mikele Barber and Lekeisha Lawson, Jamaica's Aleen Bailey, Nigeria's Gloria Asumnu and sub- seven-seconds sprinter LaVerne Jones-Ferrette.
Among those already announced for the Russian Winter are long jumper Darya Klishina, Olympic high jump champion Ivan Ukhov and world heptathlon champion Hanna Melynchenko.
World 800m champion Mohammed Aman leads a quality field in the 600m. The latest addition for that event is Qatari record-holder and Asian champion Musaeb Abdulrahman Balla, who finished second to Aman at last year's Russian Winter.