The Nation (Nairobi)

Kenya: With Kenya Favourites in Men's 800m, Rudisha Expects Daegu Contest to Be a Repeat of Africa Championships Medal Sweep

analysis

Kenya tops the men's 800m scorecard at the IAAF World Championships in Athletics since its inaugural edition in 1983.

It sits at the top with four gold medals - Billy Konchellah (1987 and 1991), Paul Ruto (1993) and Alfred Yego Kirwa (2007).

Kenyan-turned-Dane Wilson Kipketer pulled a fast one on Kenyans, sneaking away with gold medals in 1997, 1999 and 2001 Worlds before South Africa's Mbulaeni Mulaudzi ran away with the 2009 Berlin World Championships victory.

Warning shot

World 2010 Male of the Year and world 800m record holder, Kenya's David Rudisha, has fired a warning shot to his rivals to brace for a tough battle.

Leading the 800m line up comprising world silver medallist Alfred Kirwa Yego and Africa bronze medallist Jackson Kivuva, superstar Rudisha has huge dreams for Kenya at the global conquest.

The three will travel to Daegu, South Korea, on July 22 heads high after posting brilliant performances at the international scene since last season.

Rudisha, who holds the 1:41.01 all-time best, will lead the Kenyan assault in the chase to recapture the two-lap race title.

He expects that the global championships will be a repeat of last year's Africa Senior Championships, where Rudisha led Kirwa and Kivuva to a 1-2-3 podium sweep.

The 24-year-old told Monday Sport: "We will do our best there as our team is strong and responding well to training. We first want to reclaim the 800m title and even sweep the board as we did in Nairobi (Africa Championships)," said Rudisha, a police officer.

He posted 1:42.91, his season best as he set the new UK all-comers record on debut after beating World Indoor champion Abubaker Kaki of Sudan.

"I'm in great form. We will target the World Championship 800m title and I hope we will make it," said Rudisha, an alumnus of St Francis Kimuron Secondary School in Keiyo North.

Rudisha, who ran 1:42.84 at the Nairobi Africa Senior Championships, said the Daegu line-up was strong and could beat any opposition, though he expects a challenge from defending champion Mbulaeni Mulaudzi of South Africa.

On his part Kirwa said: "I will reach Daegu, go through to the heats and gauge my opponents. I will study and know how to counter them. We only need to make it to the semi finals and thereafter, we will plan and be certain of medals."

Kirwa, who started running as a student at Chesunuet Primary School in Eldoret South, will use the World Championships as his launching pad to next year's Olympic Games in London before he steps up to the 1,500m category.

"The Olympics will be my last competition in 800m. I want to step up to 1,500m but I need to bow out with Worlds and Olympic titles," said Kirwa, a police officer.

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