NAIROBI, Kenya, July 24- After underlining his credentials by finishing fifth at the London Olympics last year, Bedan Karoki is itching to deploy a ‘Charles Kamathi’ at the Moscow Worlds and gift Kenya the elusive top medal in the men 10,000m.
At 35, Kamathi remains the last Kenyan to win the men 25-lap world title and it’s been a dozen years of waiting since he achieved that feat at the 2001 edition in Edmonton, Canada.
Just like Kamathi did then when he left Ethiopian legend and overwhelming favourite, Haile Gebrsellasie for dead in the last lap for the glory, Karoki is out to mow double Olympic champion from Britain, Mo Farah, the man to beat at the distance today in similar fashion to ascend to the men 10,000m throne.
“I did not have good finishing power in London and this time, I will collect the mistakes I did last year. I had not trained for the finish but this year, I have done that and I know I can do well.
“Farah offers great competition but if I compete to my full potential, I’m confident I can top him,” Karoki, the winner of the Kenyan 10,000m Moscow Trials said at the team’s training camp in Nairobi.
“Farah is a human being just like I and I can run just like him and he does not unsettle me at all. Recently, Kamathi called me and urged me to not be afraid of him since I can do as well as he can.
“To be honest, he is in top shape and it will require a lot of effort to best him in his current form,” Karoki added of the Somali born British runner who broke the European 1500m record by running a barnstorming 3:28.81 in Monaco last week to deliver a telling message to those out to outsmart him.
The Japan-based African silver winner, who was selected for the continental event after failing to nail a place in the Kenyan team for the 2011 Worlds in Daegu despite leading the Trial for long spells, declared himself fit for his debut at the biennial IAAF track and field showpiece.
“The training I have been doing in Japan has mainly focused on endurance and what is remaining now is to sharpen on my finishing. I was not expecting to win the Trial; I was targeting a top-three finish,” Karoki, who bagged the Kenyan selection race for Moscow in 27:31.61.
The athlete, who has a 27:13.12 season’s best from a fourth finish at the Pre Fontaine Diamond League race on May 31, explained what he and team mates, Paul Tanui and Kenneth Kiptanui have in store to break the 25-lap race gold duck.
“(In Moscow) we shall work with my team mates maybe up to the 8000m mark then from there, it will be every man to chase their own target.”
“If we start slowly, we do not have a chance to medal. At the Olympics, the first 5000m was slow contrary to what we expected and by the time we had 3000m left, the Mo Farahs were already in position. We miscalculated,” he added as he reflected on what did not work at the London Olympics final.
“I’m in top shape now and the only thing left is to maintain that for Moscow. This year, I will try all my best to finish in the medal bracket at least; either I take the gold or the silver.
And why has his nation continued to find the top medal elusive?
“As Kenyans, we do well in training as a team but I don’t know what happens at the event itself. If we can repeat what we are doing here in Moscow, the country will be in a good position to medal and that is our aim this time around,” the athlete who ran 27:32.94 for fifth on his Olympics debut clarified.
Now a marathoner, Kamathi, who like Karoki, has his athletics roots in the Kenyan Rift Valley town of Nyahururu, will be eagerly watching to see whether his status in the men 10,000m at the worlds will survive Moscow.