NAIROBI, August 10- Steeplechase king, Ezekiel Kemboi, has promised China a memorable show when he bids to win a record-setting fourth title at the Beijing IAAF World Championships whether he wins the gold medal or not.
The world has not known any other holder of the men 3000m crown since the Berlin edition of 2009 when Kemboi uncorked 8:00.43 led countryman, Richard Mateelong (8:00.89) and Frenchman Bouabdellah Tahri (8:01.18) to the podium in the fastest final at the World Championships.
It was here the world got a first taste of his showmanship after he led the silver medallist to jump the barriers draped in the Kenyan flag in a hilarious toast to their 1-2 that made evening news on German television.
“I had a wildcard and wanted to run to make my fans happy at home. I just came to run and that’s why you saw I was telling my boys to make it good and maybe in Beijing, we make the first four,” Kemboi stated after finishing fourth (8:24.42) at the Kenyan Trials on Saturday.
“What I want to do in Beijing, since this is perhaps my last World Championships is to make us take the first four positions. If we run the way we did here as a team, then it is possible,” the three-time silver medallist at the Worlds added.
On the serious threat posed by American breakout steeplechase star, Evan Jager, the veteran champion urged his teammates in the steeple, Diamond League winner, who won the Trial in 8:19.55 ahead of Worlds silver winner, Conseslus Kipruto (8:21.73) and 2007 Worlds and 2008 Olympics gold medallist, Brimin Kipruto (8:22.95) to be cohesive in China.
“He (Jager) he is good and running well but before we leave for Beijing, we will have found tactics to give him his medicine. I will decide my future in the sport after Beijing, perhaps I could think of defending my Olympics title in Rio but first, my aim is to give China my best,” the London 2012 Olympics crown-holder added.
In 2011, Kemboi, 33, returned to Asia when the South Korean resort city of Daegu to defend his crown and after a slow tactical final, he employed a killer burst in the last 300m to beat then Olympic champion, Kipruto (8:14.85 against 8:16.05) before the Beijing 2008 winner could unleash his feared kick over the last 200m.
Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad (8:16.09) another Frenchman took bronze before Kemboi opted to celebrate with him over his compatriot, the Kenyan who was spotting a haircut of the Nike swoosh famously jumping to the embrace of the bronze winner as Kipruto walked away from the track clearly offended.
Kemboi was to succeed him as Olympics champion in London a year later where he removed his running vest before breaking into a the celebratory jig, dancing to the tune of a local hit song, Pamela Chepchumba that continues to be a You Tube sensation to date.
At the last Worlds in Moscow, 2012 World Junior champion, Conseslus, stormed the scene to threaten his rule and in an act that thrilled and angered in equal measure, Kemboi turned against the youngster metres to the finish to wag his finger at him menacingly as he yelled in native Kenyan national language Swahili, “Wait for your time!”
The two have since patched up their fallout from Russia where the master collected his steeplechase hat-trick in 8:06.01 as Kipruto followed in 8:06.37 with Mekhissi again taking the bronze (8:07.86) where Kemboi further inflamed the situation by going for the lap of honour with the Frenchman.
“At every World Championships, I always have something special for the fans and Beijing will be no different, wait and see, thank you,” he said on what he has in store to thrill the Birds’ Nest where his attempt to defend his Olympics title from Athens 2004 collapsed in a seventh finish.