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Rudisha makes sure of place on Kenya Olympic team

India TV News Desk 23 Jun 2012, 21:52:13 IST
India TV News Desk
NAIROBI, (Kenya) Jun 23: World 800-meter champion and record-holder David Rudisha made sure of his place on Kenya's Olympic team by winning the final at the national trials on Saturday, but 1,500 Olympic champion Asbel Kiprop had to dig deep to make the London Games.

Rudisha, in imperious form this season, led from the start to cross in 1 minute, 42.12 seconds at Nyayo National Stadium and confirm a trip to his first Olympics. Timothy Kitum followed in second place to also earn a spot alongside Anthony Chemut in third.

The first three in each event qualified for next month's Olympics.

Kiprop, who was awarded gold in Beijing after winner Rashid Ramzi was stripped of his title, finished third in the 1,500 to sneak into the team behind Silas Kiplagat and Nixon Chepseba. Kiplagat, the 2011 world silver medalist, won in 3:37.60.

Women's 5,000- and 10,000 world champion Vivian Cheruiyot won the 5,000 to claim a spot. She had already qualified to run in the longer distance at the 10,000 trials last week.

Pamela Jelimo will get to defend her 800 Olympic title in London after overpowering the field in the women's two-lap final to finish in 1:58.48. Winnie Chebet and Janeth Jepkosgei, the 2008 Olympic silver medalist, will join Jelimo.

“I feel I am in shape, but I don't want to be over confident. I just want to train hard,” said Jelimo, who will likely battle against former world champion Caster Semenya of South Africa and current titleholder Mariya Savinova of Russia in a competitive women's field.

Olympic champion Brimin Kipruto beat world champion Ezekiel Kemboi into second in the men's 3,000 steeplechase with Abel Kiprop Mutai the third qualifier, while Isaiah Kiplangat Koech led the men's 5,000 qualifiers with a time of 13:09.80.

The 23-year-old Rudisha will now certainly chase the one major achievement missing from his impressive record when he lines up as the red-hot favorite in the 800 in London. He set a world-leading time of 1:41.74 at the New York Diamond League meeting last month.

Colm O'Connell, Rudisha's coach, said the 800 was the runner's priority in London but he also was hoping to run in the 4x400 relay should Kenya qualify.

Rudisha's father, Daniel, won silver at the 1968 Olympics on Kenya's 4x400 team.