World junior champion David Rudisha out-kicked Asbel Kiprop in a hotly contested 800m final of the Kenyan trials for the Africa championships held at the Nyayo National Stadium, Nairobi on Saturday.
Rudisha, whose goal is to return to Beijing again to contest for the Olympic gold Kenya last won in 1992, started kicking from the 200 metres mark after a 49.5 second first lap and had established a small lead with 150m remaining.
Kiprop, last year’s World junior Cross Country champion and fourth in the Osaka World Championships at the 1500m, replied to this challenge with his famous long strides and was level with 50m to the tape.
But Rudisha was to win the sprinting contest to clock an incredible 1:44.38.
“I want to congratulate Asbel for pushing me hard which assisted me in qualifying for the Africa championships,” said Rudisha, 19.
Kiprop clocked 1:44.99 in his pre-season preparation for his speciality.
“I shifted from the 1500m to work on my speed which let me down in Osaka last year," said Kiprop.
Hotly contested men's 10,000m
In another exciting race, Julius Kiptoo got the better of former Kenyan champion John Cheruiyot Korir in a thrilling 10,000m final which went down to the wire.
Korir’s vast experience appeared to bear fruit until the tape when Kiptoo pipped him for victory in 28:26.98 with Korir marginally behind in 28:27.50.
Minus Kiprop, the 1500m final saw Gideon Gathimba win in a sprint finish, clocking 3:39.32. He was followed by Geoffrey Rono in 3:39.64.
Solo 2:01.02 victory for Jelimo
Season’s potentially talented Pamela Jelimo proved she could be the biggest threat to 800m World champion Janeth Jepkosgei when the season proper begins. Winner of a recent weekend meeting in Kisii, Jelimo led from start to finish in 2:01.02 despite a lack of competition from the opposition. Second placed Charity Wandia was a distant second in 2:04.58 with veteran Faith Macharia third in 2:04.86.
Peter Njenga for the IAAF
1. David Rudisha, Individual, 1:44.38
2. Asbel Kiprop, Individual, 1:44.99
3. Jackson Mumbwa, Individual, 1:45.62
1. Gideon Gathimba, Armed Forces, 3:39.32
2. Geoffrey Rono, Police, 3:39.64
3. Harun Keitany, Individual, 3:39.81
1. Isaac Songok, Individual, 13:28.4
2. Joseph Kiplimo, Individual, 13:28.8
1. Julius Kiptoo, Individual, 28:26.98
2. John Cheruiyot Korir, Armed Forces, 28:27.50
3. Bernard Sang, Individual, 28:28.46
1. Pamela Jelimo, North Rift, 2:01.02
2. Charity Wandia, Armed Forces, 2:04.58
3. Faith Macharia, Individual, 2:04.86
1. Nancy Jebet, Armed Forces, 4:13.0
2. Irene Jelagat, Individual, 4:14.4
3. Margaret Wangare, Police, 4:17.7
1. Grace Momanyi, Police, 15:49.7
2. Veronica Nyaruai, North Rift, 15:50.4
3. Esther Chemtai, Individual, 15:54.4
1. Lucy Kabuu, Individual, 33:36.0
2. Monica Wangare, Individual, 34:02.1
3. Magdelene Syombua, Individual, 34:10.1
* 3000m Steeplechase results omitted due to typing error from recorders