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‘Eldoret Express’ revs for Moscow glory

JANETH-AIRPORTNAIROBI, Kenya, June 20 — Having been an ever present in Kenya’s World Championships line-up since 2007 when she struck gold in Osaka, Janeth Jepkosgei has shelved plans to step up the distance to 1,500m in favour of seeking a Moscow swansong.

Speaking on Thursday after racing 55.6 in her 400m heat as the Kenyan National Championships got underway in Nairobi; Jepkosgei underlined she was preparing to challenge the might of the Russians when they stage the biennial global showpiece in August.

“It has been so tough (against them) in the last three years since the Russians have been doing so  but I hope this time, I will disturb them a bit and I hope to do my best. My aim and my mission is to challenge them at home. I was thinking of graduating to 1500m but this year I’m going to focus on 800m.

“I don’t know about next year, I have not planned anything. I’m not in the best form now but that is okay for me. I’m trying to be at my peak in Moscow, I’m pleased I have no injuries, I’m healthy compared to last year, my body is responding well,” she added.

Jepkosgei who was third at the Oslo IAAF Diamond League meeting on June 13, clocking 2:00.9 is enjoying some renaissance after finishing seventh at the London Olympics last summer.

The Beijing Olympics silver medallist who also won the second medal at the Berlin Worlds in 2009 ran her season’s best 1:58.71 (June 1) in Prefontaine having opened her season with a second finish at the second Diamond League meet in Shanghai, China where she clocked 2:01.28 on May 18.

“I have not started my specific training for the World Championships. I have been doing endurance and speed work and I still have part of training to do and if it goes well, it will help me in Moscow,” the runner who burst to prominence in 2006 when she ended the dominance of Mozambique legend, Maria Mutola, by beating her to Commonwealth gold disclosed.

Barring catastrophe, her Moscow ticket is all but punched since her main local rival, the 2008 Beijing champion and World Indoor titleholder, Pamela Jelimo, announced she was suffering a hamstring injury that is likely to see her out of action for three months, meaning she will miss the Worlds.

“I hope to be in the team for Moscow and the Trials are important to me. I want to be at my best and get into the final. We have young talent coming up and I hope they will join me, Eunice Sum, Nelly Chepkosgei and Winnie Chebet are those who can also make it so it will be easy,” she expressed on her prospects of donning her nation’s colours.

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“I wish the young ones all the best but I’m still around, the Trials will be an open game,” she added.

Since bagging Kenya gold at the 2002 World Junior Championships in Kingston, Jamaica, Jepkosgei has medalled at all events she has competed for her nation except in London last year where she finished seventh at the final, making her the most decorated female athlete in her nation.

She is planning on competing only once abroad ahead of the Moscow Worlds.

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