Ferguson takes aim at Olympics gold, not Rudisha

Ferguson Rotich has set his sights firmly on bagging the gold medal at next month’s Olympics in Rio as he prepares to test his readiness at the July 22 and 23 IAAF Diamond League meeting in London.

The fourth finisher at last year’s IAAF World Championships in Beijing has been in sparkling form this season and leads the 2016 Diamond Race in the men 800m after winning the Shanghai (1:45.68/May 14) and Stockholm (1:45.07/June 16) legs of the circuit and finishing second in Eugene, Oregon (1:44.56) on May 28.

He finished second at the Olympics Trials in Eldoret (July 1) in a season’s best of 1:44.05 and crucially to underline his credentials, has put London 2012 champion and world record holder, David Rudisha, the rank favourite to the sword thrice this season after stunning the two-time world champion at last year’s Trials for the Beijing Worlds.

“God has been faithful. Qualifying for the Olympics is a very big achievement for me. Kenyan athletes are very competitive so to be counted among the best is a source of pride for me,” the 2013 Moscow World Championships silver medalist said.

“I feel the pressure. I’m leading at the Diamond League and know that all eyes will be on me and whether or not I can retain the title. Having defeated Rudisha thrice already gives me more confidence; I have won against him at every Diamond League,” the 26-year-old added.

Having beated ‘King David’ last year but going on to lose against him in China where he finished just outside the medals, the 26-year-old has refused to be drawn into comparisons against his chief domestic rival saying the victories do not count for much when it comes to the business end of the main event.

“That shouldn’t be the yardstick to my success. I am sure Rudisha is training even harder so I can’t afford to rest on my laurels.

Having come so close to winning a medal in Beijing last year, Rotich says he is keen avoid such a disappointment in Rio.

“It was very painful. Finishing fourth is even more painful than coming in fifth or sixth. It is disheartening to come so close yet fail to win anything in the end. This time I will be counting on God and good luck; it should be different”

Rotich cautions that with the presence of big challengers in the shape of Beijing silver winner Amel Tuka of Ukraine, Olympics silver medallist Nijel Amos of Botswana and Polish European champion, Adam Kszczot in Rio, the Kenyans lined for Rio who include world junior champion, Alfred Keter, should work together to deliver glory.

“I hope we can work for a clean sweep. I have ran alongside all of them so I know how hard working they are. At this stage it is difficult to choose who the best is and that’s a good thing for our country. We just have to put in that extra kick,” he stated.

Rotich says that should he win gold in Rio he will dedicate it to his family and that his lesson should be that of hard work pays.