Rotich beats Rudisha into second at Kenyan trials
02 August 2015, 09:54
Nairobi-Kenya's Olympic gold medallist and world 800m record holder David Rudisha suffered a rare home defeat on Saturday when he was beaten into second place by Ferguson Rotich in the world championships trials at Nairobi.
Rudisha's coach, Colm O'Connell, said before the race that he was looking forward to the athlete showing more power towards the end -- but it was evident the lanky Kenyan has a lot to do on his speedwork before the world championships in Beijing.
"It has been tough," Rudisha told reporters at the end of two days of trials at Nairobi's Kasarani stadium.
"Yesterday I did 1:44 and today something like 1:43 and 1:44. It is not easy for a two days event. But I am happy I have now made the team and I can now concentrate."
The 26-year-old, who has won only once in the Diamond League this season and suffered three loses to his Bostwana rival Nijel Amos moved into the lead on the home stretch only to be overtaken by Rotich on the finish line.
"Many people had told me that I could beat Rudisha in the final but I didn't believe them. It was only in the final 50 metres that I saw the prediction come right," said Rotich, who twice failed to get past the quarter-finals of the 800m at major championships, the 2012 London Olympics and a year later at the world championships in Moscow.
There was no such disappointment for the women's reigning world and Commonwealth champion Eunice Sum, who remains a red hot favourite to defend her title in Beijing.
She took command shortly after the start to finish well ahead of former world champion Janeth Jepkosgei in a time of 1:59.46. Jepkosgei, the 2007 champion was second in 2:00.42 to take the only two places in the team for the world championship.
"I am in top form to go and defend my title in Beijing," said Sum, who remains unbeaten in the prestigious Diamond League series this season.
Three-time world steeplechase champion Ezekiel Kemboi finished out of the top three in his speciality but was given a wildcard qualification to Beijing by virtue of being the defending champion.
This season's Diamond League series leader Jairus Kipchoge Birech, showed he had fully recovered from a recent malaria attack when he stormed to victory in 8:19.55,ahead of Conseslus Kipruto (8:21.73) and former Olympic champion Brimin Kipruto, who was third in 8:22.95.
Kemboi clocked 8:22.95 in a distant fourth. All four athletes were selected for the world championships in the country's riband event.
The women's race was won by Hyvin Kiyeng who beat Virginia Nyambura into second place.