NAIROBI, Kenya, July 29, 2011- Kenya’s men 800m squad for the forthcoming World Championships in Daegu is out to exploit its unique standing as the only surviving trio who competed together at the last event in Berlin.
Speaking on Friday, the 2006 World Junior and CISM World Military Games men 800m silver winner, Jackson Kivuva, a member of that squad, said that the fact they competed together two years ago will play to their advantage when they line-up for the global showpiece that kicks-off on August 27.
World record holder, David Rudisha and Berlin silver winner Alfred Kirwa Yego are the other members of the Kenyan entries for Daegu in the men’s two-lap race.
“Having been together in Berlin, we understand each other and the experience we have running together in many races will help us work on how to first qualify for the finals and then go for the medals,” Kivuva told reporters after arriving at the team’s training camp at Nairobi’s Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.
Kivuva, who was ninth in the Berlin final after losing a shoe 200m into the race, stated valuable lessons had been learned from his first outing at the Worlds and “now we know what to do.”
On the world record holder who has not been beaten since his exit at the semifinal stage in Berlin, Kivuva who won bronze at last year’s Africa Championships said,
“We have run together with Rudisha since the Beijing World Junior Championships and I know how to stick close to him. That is what I intend to do when we go to Korea since that is the best you can hope for.”
At the Kenyan Trials for Daegu, Kivuva came in the coattails or Rudisha to book his automatic slot just as he did at the Beijing World Juniors with selectors giving Kirwa, who won the world title in 2007 and added the Olympics silver a year later, the wildcard.
Kirwa was expected to report to the team’s camp later Friday or early Saturday since he is not competing in the London Diamond League meeting next week where Rudisha is penned to race.
“I feel honoured to be among the athletes who competed in the 2006 World Juniors running in Daegu since most of the runners at that final will feature. It means I have not been left behind by my age mates and the fact that most of that group will be there also makes it easier for us to achieve our goals,” Kivuva added.
Apart from Rudisha, Marcin Lewandowski (Poland), Abubaker Kaki (Sudan), Belal Mansoor Ali (Bahrain) and Andy González (Cuba) are among the eight finalists who are set to compete at the South Korea Worlds.
The team’s head coach, Peter Mathu, noted that preparing the men 800m would mostly involve sharpening their tactics to ensure they all make the medal race.
“Getting to the final is harder than running in the final itself and with the experience they have since they have competed in more than 20 races together, they must have learned their lessons from the last time.
“We will focus on working on tactics, tactics and tactics to ensure they all make it to the final,” Mathu stressed.
More runners are expected to check-in at Kasarani over the weekend upon the conclusion of the Stockholm DN Galan Diamond League meeting on Friday night.
Follow the author on http://twitter.com/KarolBaghEEH