NAIROBI, June 19 – Willy Tarbei and Kipyegon Bett who made headlines by clocking the 12th and 13th fastest times of the year at Kenya’s Trials in the punishing elevation of Nairobi are eying Ethiopia’s Mohammed Aman’s 1:43.37 record at 2015 IAAF World Youth Championships in Cali, Colombia.
The last time a Kenyan ran a World Youth best in the boy’s 800m was four years ago when Konsencha Kirwa produced a breathtaking performance in Lille (1:44.08) to break Kenyan born Barbarian Belal Mansoor Ali’s old record of 1:44.34.
Newcomer Tarbei who showed polished finishing when he outpaced African champion, Bett at the 400m bend to cross the line first in a stunning 1:44.51, is aiming to emulate his role model and mentor, Olympics champion and world record holder, David Rudisha.
The 17-year-old form (four) student from Kokwet Secondary School has however, surpassed Rudisha’s Junior and Youth best time of 1:46.41 ran at the 2007 Africa Junior Championships in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
Tarbei who trained with Rudisha during April’s holidays in Iten was running only in his second race over 800m after clocking 1:48 at the National Secondary School Games before his lung-bursting effort at Nairobi’s Nyayo Stadium that will likely host the 2017 IAAF World Youth.
“I have never run such a time, I’m so proud of my performance; the race was very fast because we ran 51minutes in the first lap before crossing the line 1:44. I will now train for the World Championships to make sure I come with gold. I will work on my speed work,” little known Tarbei who hails from Nandi County underscored.
Bett, who launched his two-lap race career in April when he cruised to victory in 1:51.67 at African Championships in Mauritius, was confident he will maintain the tempo when he graduates to the senior ranks.
By clocking over nine seconds inside the qualifying time, the two also qualified to compete in the summer Beijing World Championships and 2016 Rio Olympic Games as they seek to erase Aman’s standard in Cali.
“After this impressing performance I want even to lower it and if possible break the record. I’m not only expecting gold but also a good time. I just need to work on my reaction and I will be good to go because I have a good kick,” Kipketer who hails from Kericho declared.
Experienced coach, Robert Ngiserei who will lead the team to the ninth edition in Colombia saluted the boys maintaining the team is shaping up to be one of the best team he has managed.
“The performance was very good, it’s like the other time when I had Kirwa Kosencha who also managed to run 1:44.08 so I’m seeing this is another time where the two boys may break the record in Cali,” Ngiserei pointed out.
The two will be seeking to bring back home the gold won by Afred Kipketer two years ago in Donetsk, Ukraine.