Athletics Athletics

Rudisha pledges floodgates after steeple win


LONDON, England, August 6- Team Kenya captain and world record holder, David Rudisha has promised the medal floodgates for his country will open after Ezekiel Kemboi led the way by winning the men 3000m steeple.

Speaking after booking his place in Tuesday’s semis in the men 800m, Rudisha who also holds the world, Continental Cup and African titles also told of the disappointment within their ranks after failing to secure the top medal until Kemboi’s intervention on Sunday night.

“We waited for that one gold but that is going to open the way for many more golds,” Rudisha told AFP on Monday.

“Many people are disappointed that Kenya had not won gold up to yesterday but comparing the performance in Beijing with this one, Kenya are one medal up at this stage,” he added.

Rudisha avoided any trouble around his two laps by leading from gun to tape, barely breaking sweat as he won his heat in 1:45.90 ahead of Qatar’s Sudan-born Musaeb Balla.

“The track is fast, it looks good,” he said. “I had a relaxed race and I’m happy with my performance.

“We will work as a team if we all get to the finals. Teamwork has always been the core part of the Kenya team.

“It affected the marathoners because they had to wait for each other and in that way they sacrificed the gold but in this race we have a strategy and we know what to do in the final if we get there,” he explained in reference to the women marathon team that lost out the gold to Ethiopia’s Tiki Gelana on Sunday morning as Priscah Jeptoo came in for silver and pre-race favourite, two-time London Marathon champion Mary Keitany returned fourth.

World champion Edna Kiplagat faded to 20th with her teammates waiting up for her when she begun struggling with 30K gone.

Rudisha’s teammates Timothy Kitum and Anthony Chemut also punched their semifinal tickets by finishing second in their heats.

A perfectly timed finish by Kemboi in the men’s steeple finally brought joy to the nation when he finished ahead of France’s Mekhissi-Benabbad and compatriot Abel Mutai to gift Kenya her eighth successive gold medal at the water and barriers race at the Olympics.