Jepkosgei banks on experience to rule Moscow WCs
29 July 2013, 18:16
Nairobi - Six years ago, Janeth Jepkosgei arrived at the international stage with little fanfare but with one target, put in check Mozambique's Maria Mutola reign as the queen of 800m race.
That was down under in Melbourne, where she started the deconstruction of Mutola's reign during the 2006 Commonwealth Games.
Jepkosgei beat Mutola nicknamed Maputo Express in the finals to win gold and put her on road to retirement.
That performance, for Jepkosgei then aged 23, earned her the title Eldoret Express, a trade name for one of Kenya's public bus company.
Well Jepkosgei expedition is not about to pull to its final destination at the Moscow World Championships, which start on Aug. 10 in Russia. If anything, the star for the 29 year-old is just but brightening.
"I love running, it is something that I do without much hustle. I have been around since 2006 on the international stage, winning gold, silver and bronze in different competitions.
"But as the time flies, so does it get tough to dominate. New talents always emerge and put you in check and I am proud of the challenge they throw at me," said Jepkosgei, Monday in Nairobi.
It is this challenge that is inspiring Jepkosgei to take on her new role as the leader of the Kenya 800m team to Moscow.
With colleague and World Indoor Champion Pamela Jelimo out injured, Jepkosgei, who won bronze at the last World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, will be the steel around which the silk of Eunice Sum and Winnie Chebet will be wrapped on.
"I have a challenge to mentor them. They have emerged from my shadow having been my training mates. I want to win for myself, but I too want them to succeed," she said.
Jepkosgei has been in three world Championships and two Olympic Games. She won gold in Osaka Japan in 2007, silver in Berlin in 2009 and took bronze in Daegu.
In Beijing Olympics, she was second to Jelimo and was a finalist in London Games last year. Now will Jepkosgei be able to make her return to the top place she made at the 2007 World Championships in Osaka?
"Every championship is different. Moscow will be different from the other three. But it will be my final show in the 800m distance as I want to move up to the 1,500m distance.
"In Moscow, I also want to see my colleagues and youngsters Chebet and Sum excel. I will be happier if they pick from where I have been for many years," said Jepkosgei.
Sum, who beat Jepkosgei at the trials, has 2:00.06 best mark while Chebet, a former World Junior Champion, has 2:00.4. But they will not be the main challenge to Jepkosgei's (1:58.71) reign in the two-lap race.
Burundi's Africa Champion Francine Niyonsaba is holding the world lead-time this season with 1:56.72, which she set in Eugene, Oregon in USA in June.
Throw in Moroccan Malika Akkaoui 1:57.64, Alysia Johnson Montano (USA) 1:57.75, Brenda Martinez 1:58.18 (USA) and Russia's Mariya Savinova (1:58.75) and the 800m garden will be flourishing with talented stars ready to take the next leap.
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