Kenya eyes seven golds at London Olympics

July 17th, 2012 - 2:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Nairobi, July 17 (IANS) Kenya are looking at seven gold medals from the 48 athletes they are sending to the London Olympics.

Who are the Kenyans looking good to bring gold home?

Of the 43 track and field athletes, two boxers, two swimmers and one weightlifter, there are seven events in which the Kenyans can strike gold, reports Xinhua.

In the last Olympics in Beijing, Kenya won six gold medals, all in middle and long-distance running events, thereby making it Kenya’s best Olympics outing ever.

Probably the top favourites are current 800m world record holder David Rudisha; world 5,000m and 10,000m champion Vivian Cheruiyot; London marathon winner Mary Keitany; two time marathon world champion Abel Kirui; Olympic 800m champion Pamela Jelimo and Olympic and world 1500m champion Asbel Kiprop.

When Xinhua visited Mary Keitany in Iten as she was preparing for the Games she said an Olympic gold medal is an athlete’s ultimate prize.

“One can win races and break world records. But no prize is more worthy than an Olympic gold medal which engraves your name in sports history,” she told Xinhua in an interview while undergoing physiotherapy after training, one week after winning the London Marathon.

Keitany will team up with her first and second runners-up at the London Marathon Edna Kiplagat and Priscah Jeptoo in their bid to win the gold.

Echoing similar sentiments, Vivian Cheruiyot says she wants to get the only medal missing from her cabinet.

“I have won nearly every title on offer, but my cabinet looks bare without an Olympic gold medal. I intend to make up for this missing link in London,” said Cheruiyot who, will be going for the double in London.

Another man to watch is two times world marathon champion Abel Kirui. He has the knack of rising to the occasion when it matters. He was chosen from a deep pool of 200 runners alongside Emmanuel Mutai and Wilson Kipsang.

After painfully watching pretenders to her throne rule the roost for three years, Olympic 800m champion Pamela Jelimo bounced back with a vengeance during which she made her intentions known by winning the World Indoor title and every subsequent race she participated in. On a good day, her contemporary in the event Janeth Jepkosgei usually plays second fiddle.

The 3,000m steeplechase, as usual is expected to be a Kenyan affair that will see the country’s three runners contest for the gold.

It will be a battle between Olympic champion Ezekiel Kemboi and his world champion country mate Brimin Kipruto.

The latter rises to the occasion during the most difficult of times and the world will be waiting to see him unleash his jig which he says he has refined.

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