We’ve won psychological war
Posted Tuesday, August 9 2011 at 23:37
Kenya’s 800 metres men’s team is undoubtedly the team to beat at the 13th IAAF World Championships in Athletics to be held in Daegu, South Korea, later this month.
“The semi-finals are the worst stage at championship races and one can be locked out swiftly is not careful,” warned Kirwa, who is one of the most experienced athletes in the team, having represented the country at the last four World Championships with victory in Osaka in 2007 as his nadir.However, despite boasting of the world record holder over the distance, David Rudisha, the 2007 world champion Alfred Kirwa Yego, and an unpredictable, fast-rising destroyer Jackson Kivuva, the Kenyan trio is taking no chances.
Kirwa settled for silver as South Africa’s Mbulaeni Mulaudzi went on to strike the gold at the Berlin championships two years ago.
Rudisha is also eying his first global championship victory having won the Africa title twice in Addis Ababa in 2008 and last year in Nairobi.
The world record holder is also the 2006 World Junior title holder.
Kivuva, meanwhile, seek to make amends after finishing ninth in Berlin.
Kirwa said he was almost locked out of the Berlin final and barely made it after finishing as the best loser in the semi-finals.
“Being in the final is not as hard as the semi-finals.
“I, therefore, implore my colleagues to run with focused minds especially at the semi-final level,” said Kirwa.
“That is a stage that doesn’t matter the shape which an athlete is in. That is where one gives his all no matter what hence dangerous even to an athlete who is touted as favourite.”
Kirwa, the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games bronze medallist, is confident that all three Kenyans will make the final, adding that the psychological warfare at the Worlds is already won by virtue of Kenya having the world record holder and former champion in the team.
“Having the three of us in the final will be the greatest thing, but we need to work hard for that,” said Kirwa.
“We shall then work as a team in the final to win the title back.”
Kirwa, who improved his personal best to 1:42.67 in Rieti, Italy, finishing second behind Rudisha, who ran a new African record, attributed his success to his coach Claudio Berardelli.
Rudisha holds the two-lap race world record at 1:41.01.
“He (Berardelli) has always been there and kept me going despite all the difficulties since my debut at the World Championship in 2003,” said Kirwa.
Berardelli also handles Beijing Olympic Games medallists Janeth Jepkosgei and Nancy Jebet Lagat along with two-time 3,000m world junior champion, Mercy Cherono.
“He has had a deliberate and fine training programme for us this year including missing out on grand prix meetings to ensure that we perform well at the worlds,” said Kirwa.
Updated on May 20, 2013, 4:43pm