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Kenya will struggle in 800m

31 July 2013, 18:20

Nairobi - Olympic 800m bronze medallist Timothy Kitum said it will be a struggle for Kenya to retain two- lap race title at the World Championships in Moscow starting Aug. 10-18.

Without defending champion David Rudisha or himself, Kenya team is exposed and lacks the steel on which the silk of Africa silver medallist Antony Chemut, Ferguson Rotich and Jeremiah Mutai will be wrapped.

"It was bad that I never made the team," Kitum said in Nairobi on Tuesday.

"Kenyan trials is not a complete reflection of one's ability but we have to accept that it is the way the country will always select its national team.

"I failed to make the cut and that is it, I can't blame anyone. But looking at the team we have, it leaves a lot to be desired. They are inexperienced and have no record to prove. It might work for them, but surely I see them struggling to make an impact in Moscow."

Rudisha won gold in Daegu, South Korea two years ago taking over the baton from aging Alfred Kirwa and Wilfred Bungei.

But injury has connived with fate to lock him out of the World Championships, while Kitum is purely out on poor form. Now Chemut must play the lead role to 800m-novice duo of Rotich and Mutai.

However, with fast times this season being posted away in USA in events Kenya did poorly, the odds are stuck firmly against him. America's Duane Solomon holds the fastest time this season of 1:43. 27, which he posted in Des Moines (USA) on June 23.

That is a few seconds faster than World Indoor Champion Mohammed Aman of Ethiopia (1:43.33) set in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Then there is also the potential threat from France's Pierre- Ambroise Bosse (1:43.76), Djibouti's new sensation Ayanleh Souleiman (1:43.63) and America's pair of Nick Symmonds (1:43.70) and Duane Solomon (1:43.72).

They have all run faster and will be eyeing to secure the throne, albeit temporarily until King David (Rudisha) and Algeria' s Taoufik Makhloufi, the Olympic 1,500m champ return from Injury.

But time and record does not shake Chemut. According to him, championships are not one-day meetings and anything is possible.

"Many athletes do well in the semi final stage than in the finals and that's why I was locked in the inside tracks at the Olympics. Now I know better and have my chance to prove critics wrong," said Chemut.

However, former World Youth 400m silver medallist Jeremiah Mutai and the new catch, Ferguson Rotich believe Rudisha's unavailability is a blessing to them in disguise as they have the chance to curve their won niche at the global arena.

"We will do our best to ensure that David Rudisha, the world record holder and defending champion, comfortably recovers from injury. We want Kenyans to know that Rudisha bestowed the mantle to 'real men' and not 'boys' as many people believe," Rotich said.

Rotich, who was unknown to many until his surge and victory at the Kenya trials, said Rudisha has inspired him into the two-lap race and he will not disappoint.

"When I completed secondary school in 2010, Rudisha was doing very well across the globe and that prompted me to train in 800m. I will have time to speak with him on how to run in Moscow," said Rotich.

- Xinhua

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