The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Kirwa Anxious-Kenya Coach Feels Different Standards Could Ruin Kenya's Medal Chances

Kenyan Athletics head coach Julius Kirwa feels the disparity between world 800m champion and record holder David Rudisha and his compatriots could nullify Kenya's chase for Olympic silver and bronze in London. The coach said the gap between Rudisha and second placed Job Kinyor at the London Games trials in Nairobi over the weekend, mean Rudisha could pull rivals past the rest of the Kenyans in the race.

Kirwa said it is a cause of concern with the start of the Olympics barely a month away. "I was concerned by the gap and also in the women's 5,000m where double world champion Vivian Cheruiyot has a huge advantage over her compatriots. It is something we as coaches are going to be working on in the weeks before the Games," Kirwa said.

Kirwa insisted the athletes should run as a team if they harbour any chances of winning medals at the games. "Its important that athletes run as a team and to that effect we are going to push hard and be as competitive as Rudisha and Cheruiyot in the races we have entered," he added Kirwa expressed similar concerns over the women's 800m where Pamela Jelimo left her rivals gasping with her superb effort while winning the trials event.

The coach says the current team is much stronger than the one he led to Beijing four years ago. The current squad has a galaxy of stars ranging from Africa, Commonwealth and Olympic champions. "I think its a stronger team than we had in Beijing. The athletes are very experienced and are raring to go."

Kirwa said the athletes can handle the pressure at the games. "The spotlight will be on us but I think our athletes can handle the expectation very well." Elsewhere Kenya's captain to the Africa senior athletic championships Mark Mutai expects Kenya to replicate the performance of the last edition on home soil. Despite Kenya sending a second string team to the games Mutai said the athletes are relishing the start of the event. "The focus is on the Olympics but those chosen are ready to do the country proud and defend the title we won in Nairobi.

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