NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 15- Africa Under-20 800m champion Solomon Lekuta is eager to follow in the footsteps of his namesake, World Record Holder David Lekuta Rudisha and go on to be a household name in the two-lap race.
Lekuta who will be part of the Kenyan team to the IAAF World Under-20 Championship in Tampere, Finland from July 10-15 says he keenly follows his idol, the two-time Olympic and World Champion and hopes that once he hangs his spikes, the next name that causes shivers in the race will be his.
“It is an inspiration of sorts for me because I always look up to him. He has done very well for the country being the best in the world and one day I want to be just like him. Yes, many people think we are related but we are actually not. But it is a good thing to share names with him,” Lekuta told Capital Sport.
The 19-year old easily won the race at the Athletics Kenya national trials for the junior games, crossing the finish line in a time of 1:46.21 ahead of Kipng’etich Ng’eno who timed 1:46.49.
His season’s best this year is 1:46.16 while his Personal Best time is 1:45.4. This season, he has run in the Shanghai leg of the IAAF Diamond League where he finished ninth clocking 1:47.51.
“Running in the Diamond League gave me a lot of experience which will be valuable for me moving forward. When you run with better athletes, you get to know your strengths and weaknesses,” added Lekuta.
He now hopes to go to Finland and defend the title won by Kipyegon Bett two years ago in Bydgoszcz, Poland and is confident that he will be able to deliver the gold.
“I feel I am in very good shape and heading to Finland, we have to bring that title home. We will work with Ng’eno and ensure the title does not move away from Kenya,” he added.
Meanwhile, after missing out on the gold medal in the 400m Hurdles race at the World Under-18 Championship in Nairobi last year coming second behind South Africa’s Zazini Zozakhwana, Moitalel Mpoke has vowed to make amends and go for the junior title in Finland.
Mpoke clocked an impressive 50,88 to win the Athletics Kenya trials at the Kasarani Stadium on Tuesday, beating James Mucheru, younger brother to 2016 Rio Olympics Silver medalist Boniface Mucheru.
The two however qualified for the games in Tampere, Finland.
“The first target was to qualify with my brother Mucheru and I am so glad that we finally did. We had worked so hard for this and before the race I told him, since we always train here (Kasarani), this is our home ground and we should win,” he said, emotions still running all over his face.
He added; “The next target for us now is to go and get a medal in Finland. I got silver here at the Under-18 games and my hope is to go and better that performance to get a gold medal.”
“I know there is a lot of competition especially from Bahamas and Jamaica but we will work hard to get that medal.”
Mpoke tried his luck at the Commonwealth Games trials early in February but could only finish fifth in his heat.