NAIROBI, August 21- World Cross gold and silver winners, Geoffrey Kipsang Kamworor and Bedan Karoki alongside Moscow bronze winner, Paul Kipng’etich Tanui launch the ‘operation bring down Farah’ on Saturday during the first track final of the 33rd IAAF World Championships in Beijing.
In one of the expected highlight of Day 1 of action, the trio are the latest red, green and black clad-runners who will attempt to bring the elusive men 10,000m title that has eluded Kenya’s clutches since 1991 when the retired Moses Tanui romped to glory in Tokyo.
Starting at 3:20pm local time, Kipsang and Karoki who completed a commanding 1-2 at the Guiyang World Cross are out to partner with Tanui, himself a silver winner at the 2011 World Cross in Punta Umbria, Spain to wrest the title from the Great Britain superstar who won silver in Daegu four years ago before taking the title in Moscow.
By the time they take to the Bird’s Nest, the men marathon will have been decided meaning they have the task of either minting more glory or if the unexpected happen, open Kenya’s golden account in China.
“We will run as a team,” Karoki emphasised after the Kenyans hopefuls completed a 45-minute workout at the Bird Nest’s warm-up track on Friday, echoing the declaration they made on the morning of August 1 when he followed Kipsang, the World Half Marathon champion across the line at the Kenyan Trial.
Owing to his superior finishing speed he used to devastating effect at the Guiyang World Cross to bag his second title after the 2011 gold as a junior, Kipsang is the slight favourite for the biggest medal among the Kenyans.
“We came here to compete and we can upset Farah. Personally, I’m in good form,” he added.
The scalp of the athlete who has made his ‘Mo-boat’ celebration famous worldwide after debuting it at his home Olympics in London 2012 when he clinched his first distance double in 5000m and 10000m is not a preserve of the Kenyans only.
Bitter northern rivals, Ethiopia, harbour hope of reclaiming the crown won by Ibrahim Jeilan in South Korea, the last athlete to floor Farah over the two distances.
Muktar Edris, the 2012 world junior 5 000m gold medallist, Mosinet Geremew and Imane Merga, the 2011 bronze winner and Bydgoszcz 2013 World Cross silver medallist will be running in the famous yellow, red and green of Ethiopia.
East African interest will also see Uganda’s World Junior 10, 000m titleholder, Joshua Cheptegei fly the Cranes’ hopes alongside Timothy Toroitich and Moses Kibet.
– Qualification rounds-
Before that final, some of the cream of the Kenyan talent in Beijing will be in action to launch their medal chase in the preliminaries of their specialities.
World record holder, David Rudisha, who admitted he was not the favourite in Beijing having been outclassed by Botswana’s Olympics silver medallist, Nijel Amos in the IAAF Diamond League and Ferguson Rotich at the Beijing Trials this season, will launch his bid to bag a second world title after his Daegu 2011 success.
“We don’t have much to say today since the focus is on tomorrow (Saturday) as we look at qualifying for the semis,” Rotich who was part of the silver medal winning Medley Relay quartet at the IAAF World Relays in Bahamas underlined.
Immediate former World junior champion, Alfred Kipketer is the third local men two-lap talent out to bag their place in Sunday’s semis starting at 6:50am Kenyan time.
The trio will seek to qualify for tomorrow’s semi finals. Nigel Amos of Botswana and Ethiopia’s Mohammed Aman are Kenya’s main rivals.
The country’s much celebrated men 3000m steeplechase quartet will go out first at the Bird’s Nest starting from 5:25am to seek tickets for the final where Kenya is aiming at a first podium sweep since the Osaka 2007 Worlds.
Defending champion and three-time titleholder, Ezekiel Kemboi, told on Friday the priority was to navigate through the first hurdles of the water and barriers race before they plan a strategy for the medal race.
“Our aim now is to qualify to the final then think about the medal race. We have trained well and are confident we shall shine,” the overall team captain who is pursuing a record fourth successive crown said after Friday’s workout.
Osaka 2007 champion who led Kemboi and Richard Mateeloong to the medal shut-out in Japan returns to the venue of his greatest triumph having won the Olympics crown in 2008 at the same stadium.
African and Diamond League winner, Jairus Kipchoge, is the tip of most aficionados of the sport owing his scorching performances on the international circuit although this is his first Worlds with Conseslus Kipruto, who trailed Kemboi home in Moscow rounding the squad that on paper, should complete an unprecedented 1-2-3-4.
Kemboi who was given a wild card to the championships trained together under coach Alex Sang’ with Jairus Birech, Conseslus Kipruto and Brimin Kipruto before they left together, taking a walk to their hotel which is located about 400m from the warm up area.
They will be followed out of the track by the women 1500m trio led by Commonwealth champion and national record holder, Faith Chepng’etich Kipyegon, at their heats that start at 6:50am.
“I know we have (record holder) Genzebe Dibaba and many top runners but I have come here to run my own race,” Chepng’etich who won the Trials maintained.
The 2010 World Junior bronze medallist, Nancy Chepkwemoi, who will run in the first heat and Viola Lagat, younger sister to Osaka double winner and Kenyan born American legend, Bernard Lagat will partner with Chepng’etich in the women’s metric mile.
In the women’s 1, 500m race, Faith Chepng’etich, Nancy Chepkwemoi and Viola Lagat will seek to qualify for Sunday’s semi final.
In the afternoon rounds, Kenya’s lone hurdler, Haron Koech, is out to advance to the next round when he lines-up in Heat 3 of the 400m event that starts from 1:35pm as Kenya attempts to make a rare foray into territory they are not famed for excellence.