Monday, 22 August 2011

World Athletics in Daegu - Kenya's Chances

The 13th and so far largest World Athletics Championships starts in Daegu( the country's 'greenest city')- South Korea in 5 days. Kenya as one of the athletics powerhouse is expected its largest contingent. But as we'd know size does not always matter as other countries have been easily eroding the chances our athletes have of reaping more medals.Image courtesy of

Ethiopia is by far the largest threat in the middle and longer distance races especially with the return of our nemesis, Kenenisa Bekele. We also have the Ugandan-born middle distance runners who gave Kenyans a scare during the Commonwealth Games.
We shall look at the chances that our athletes have as follows;
800m ( Prediction:Gold & Silver)
Unless they pick injuries , David Rudisha and Alfred Kirwa are the athletes to beat in this 2-lap race. Having broken the world record last season twice in less than week and enjoying an unbeaten season so far in the Grand Prix, Rudisha has been setting the pace for this in the last 1 year. After Usain Bolt, he's athletics other easily recognisable and biggest name in the last 2 years. Kirwa might also sneak in for a silver.

1500m ( Gold & Bronze)
The race will most likely be between Silas Kiplagat and Asbel Kiprop. The latter has often gone against grain much to the coaches chagrin and thus lost races he would have easily won. But world supremacy is beckoning and what better stage than this to prove it. Kiprop for gold & Kiplagat for bronze.

3000m Steeplechase ( Gold, Silver & Bronze) Kenya's preserve in major sporting functions, it will not about who will win but rather how they shall be placed. Sample this, two Olympic gold medallists and African winners as well as fastest time this season in the race? The bet is on Brimin Kipruto take the tape. Will Mateelong stop playing second fiddle to Kemboi & Kipruto? Let's see...

5000m ( Silver)
This is where the Ethiopians have taken on us with a vengeance. With Kenenisa Bekele, it is noteworthy that he's not coming back to get warmed up but to show he still has some gas left in those nifty heels. This is his easily his gold with his worthy opponent Eliud Kipchoge finally bowing out of World Championships with a silver. He will have to beat former champ & Kenyan born US athlete Bernard Lagat & Somali-origin GB's athlete Mo Farah.

10000m ( Bronze)
This is another race that has eluded the Kenyans in the last 3 World C'ships and this time it is not any different. The Ethiopians shall either prop Kenenisa Bekele to his 2nd gold or Silesh Sihine will get his first gold ( remember he was second to Bekele in the 2007 c'ships...). Tadesse from Eritrea is also expected to chase the pack but on this one, he gets the silver.

Marathon ( Silver)
Having lost Kenya's (and may arguably the best marathoner) in the form of Samuel Wanjiru earlier this year, the Kenyan brothers will need to dig deep to challenge for this. Abel Kirui who is the reigning champ might not have the same spikes like he did last time. Ethiopia's G. Gebremariam is our main prospect for the gold. This is usually the last race of the championships .

4 x 400m( Bronze)
Hoping the team is not disqualified like they have been in major athletics events, this team will pull an upset and place 2nd or 3rd in this speciality. Riding on a succesful wave in the continental championships and Commonwealth Games last year and anchored by Mark Mutai, its about time our men emulated the 1972 Munich Games brothers ( which included David Rudisha's dad Daniel Rudisha).

800m ( Gold )
Janeth Jepkosgei will be looking over her shoulder to beat Caster Semenya. With the absence of Pamela Jelimo was the phenomenon in 2008 again misses the World Championships due to injury. The battle is between Janeth & Caster both former winners of this race.

1500m ( Bronze)
This is a very modest prediction and yes we do love our sisters but Ethiopian-born Bahraini Maryam Yusuf Jamal looks to make it 3-out-of-3. Nancy Lagat might be on that podium but not for the gold.
3000m steeplechase (Gold & Bronze)
We thought the ladies run a shorter race in the Olympics and Commonwealth but there is the likelihood the ladies would love to emulate their brothers and come home with the prize. Milcah Chemos is looking all ready to conquer the world, let's see who joins her on the podium.

5000m ( Silver)
Vivian Cheruiyot the reigning champ and having the world's leading time will be trying to prove a point and give a run of the Ethiopian's money. Meseret Defar and Genzebe Dibaba shall be chasing her down the tracks and one of them shall reign supreme.

10000m ( Bronze)
The Ethiopian threat shall be back again and Linet Masai shall be trying to get back her own but again we shall not be up to the pace of these ladies. Melkamu is itching for revenge and we shall see her in her best colours.

Marathon ( Bronze)
Another disappointing outing it will be and maybe just maybe we shall come back with a bronze. Wondering aloud where Catherine Ndereba is, we shall nominate Edna Kiplagat or Irene Kosgei.

In earnest we hope these predictions turn out NOT TO BE TRUE but then again it is just WISHES.
The added incentive for the athletes from the TDK and Toyota who are the main sponsors (among others) of these championships is that the winners and those placed 2nd to 8th shall be rewarded. The scheme is as follows;


a) Gold - US$ 60,000
b) Silver- US$ 30,000
c) Bronze - US$ 20,000
World Record breakers entitled to US$ 100,000
{4th-15,000; 5th-10,000; 6th-6000; 7th-5000; 8th-4,000}

Relays (Teams):
a) Gold - US$ 80,000
b) Silver - US$40,000
c) Bronze - US$ 20,000
{4th-16,000; 5th-12,000; 6th-8,000; 7th-6,000; 8th-4,000}
Marathon (Teams):
a) Gold - US$ 20,000
b) Silver - US$16,000
c) Bronze - US$ 12,000
{4th-10,000; 5th-8,000; 6th-6,000}

You can see more detailed previews of the Daegu Championships here and also follow the races live here . Or follow their Twitter handle @daegu2011org .

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