Coming to the final as world leaders, ousted champion, Asbel Kiprop, Commonwealth winner, Silas Kiplagat and Diamond League crown holder Nixon Chepseba left London Olympics Stadium with the comprehensive din of failure ringing in their ears.
An expectant nation that had stayed up to almost midnight immediately took out their frustrations on social networks following the limp display that would have won an Olympic medal for lack of effort if there was any.
Kiplagat was first across the line in the internal order of competition, running 3:36.19 for seventh as Chepseba and Kiprop led each other at the tail end in 11th and last with times they will wish were erased from their otherwise impressive CVs, 3:39.04 and 3:43.83.
With light rains peppering the Olympics Stadium, a usual bad omen for Kenyan runners, the country’s hopes were washed off the proceedings the moment Chepseba, who led through 800m in 1:58.63, fizzled out 300m to go.
It was at that point that Algeria’s Taoufik Makhloufi, unleashed the decisive kick that took him to the line unopposed for gold in 3:34.08 as the charging American Leonel Manzano took runners from the outside lane one after the other to seal memorable silver in 3:34.79.
Moroccan Abdelaati Iguider (3:35.13) who was carried along by Manzano took the bronze to seal the podium in a race that baffled as equally as it enthralled.
What a story though for Makhloufi, who was first kicked out of London 2012 by world body IAAF for not putting enough effort in the men 800m only to be reinstated hours later by the International Olympics Committee.
Kenya’s took to social networking sites to vent their spleen as another night spent waiting for their distance running stars to perform at the grandest of stages went to burst.
Lulu Hassan, a famed television anchor in the country posted on her Twitter handle [email protected], “We should form a commission of inquiry !what’s with the dismal perfomance?” in reflecting the feelings of majority in the country who could not comprehend what had happened.
And the rants continued, [email protected]: I have officially stopped watching the Olympic games. Nyt tweeps! #painfulannoyedsadtweet!” Rio-Olympics coming soon,” Idriss Situma posted on the same forum.
“We nearly did a clean 1-2-3 in the 1500m. From the back. Eeesh. #TeamKenya #London2012,” Sunny Bindra observed.
“Athletics Kenya y’all got some splainin to do when you get back!!! The olympics are not a spectator sport!!!,” Chao Tole, a late night presenter at Capital FM added.
Others saw the lighter side of the inexplicable collapse with Larry Madowo posting, “Quick, look! There are more horses dancing on SS6 (SuperSport 6). We better start mastering dressage for 2016 #TeamKenya,” while Dennis Okari quipped, “The shoes they are wearing must be investigated #TeamKE.”
In slight mitigation, Kiprop who was bidding to be the second man after Lord Seb Coe to hold on to the metric mile title had a well documented hamstring strain but his teammates rudderless running leaves more questions than answers.