BERLIN, August 21 – An unexpected torrent lashed down at the magnificent Olympiastadion and washed away hopes of four Kenyans athletes of making it to their respective finals.
After several days of beautiful sunny days, the heavens opened on day seven of the World Athletics Championships matching a poor day on the track for Kenya.
Running on a rain sodden track, Olympic gold medallist Nancy Jebet Langat, Olympic silver medallist Asbel Kiprop, Africa 800 metres champion David Rudisha and Viola Kibiwott all fell in the semifinals.
Rudisha and Kiprop came to Berlin as favourites but the brutal 800 metres semifinals took their tool on them.
Rudisha appeared to be on course for the final but a tight hamstring slowed him down to third in heat three.
“Gary Reed pushed me and I was forced to stay behind. I was very strong but at the end. I felt my muscles tighten. Like a muscle pull on my left leg and that is why I slowed down,” Rudisha said afterwards.
“I think it was good experience even if I didn’t make the final. I still have time and I will start in Zurich,” he added.
Drawn in the heat of death and eager to make up for his mistakes in the 1500 metres, Kiprop bolted off the blocks like a man possessed ruining a 51.54 seconds fast lap.
But the speed came back to haunt him with 200 metres to go as challengers sped past him with the lanky 20 year old limping through to finish seventh in 1:52.05.
“I think I peaked too early in the season. I have quite a number of races and posted fast times and I just could not maintain that form in the championships” said Kiprop.
The speed of the race however benefited reigning World champion Alfred Kirwa who finished third thus qualifying as a fastest loser in a seasonal best time of 1:45.22.
“Almost everybody in heat was very strong and I feel good because I made it. I had to run fast because I knew that if I made a mistake I would be kicked out but am happy now that am in the final,” Kirwa said.
He however believes that the final will be a different affair.
“Nobody is going to run infront because its going to be tactical. Probably the winning time will be 1:49 because no one will go forward so it will be very tactical. I am ready for any race whether its first or slow. Am ready for the challenge even if its 1:42,” he added.
One Kenyan athlete though who had no such problems was Jackson Kivuva. Drawn in the same heat with Abubaker Kaki, the diminutive Kenyan showed admirable poise and character avoiding an incident where Kaki was tripped to finish second and qualify to the final in a time of 1:46.32.
“It was no joke. It was so tough. You had to be careful especially when people were falling. I am happy and proud of myself. To make the final in my first championships is not an easy thing. My plan was not to be boxed. To run my race and not race or target anybody,” said Kivuva.
The Armed Forces man added that he might have another trick up his sleeves come Sunday, “There is more coming. I will just have to think and apply my tactics in the bet way possible.”
In the 1500 metres semis, Jebet Langat could only manage seventh place in heat two in a 4:11.10. The 28 year old was victim of jostling and pushing which ended with her being tripped as she crossed the finish line.
Kibiwott fared no better finishing eighth in heat one in a time of 4:06.88.