Rotich shrugs off poor start to bag bronze for Kenya
Philip Muchiri in Doha, Qatar
Ferguson Rotich overcame a poor start in the 800m final to clinch bronze in the ongoing World Athletics Championship in Doha, Qatar. Taking part in Worlds for a fourth time, Rotich could not take anything than a podium finish, clocking 1:43.82.
“Bronze was not my target but I thank God for the award, the season has been long and I had some time out with injury but I thank everyone who has enabled me to attain this,” an excited Rotich told Citizen Digital.
“When I started I felt some pain in my leg and that is why I slowed a little bit, to avoid any injury but in the second lap my leg responded well,” he added.
Despite the achievement after four tries, he is not giving up now.
“I will still be racing in the 800m but come Tokyo 2020 I might upgrade to 1,500m if all goes well.”
In other races, 3,000m steeplechase champion Conseslus Kipruto will lead Kenyan charge as he attempts to defend his title won in London 2017, with all four Kenyans in this year’s World Athletics Championship in Doha, Qatar qualifying for Friday’s final.
Previously with no win this season out of four races, Kipruto is now confident following his impeccable semi final victory.
“How I’m feeling now is totally different from how I was feeling when I took part in the last two diamond league races, because the body was not ready but after good training now I know I’m in the right shape and at the right moment,” he observed.
The lanky Kipruto reckons that he has nothing to fear despite his opponents, Soufiane El Bakkali of Morocco and Getnet Wale of Ethiopia dominating the Diamond League this season.
“They dominated when I was out with an injury, if we could have met today that could have been different, I don’t fear competition; let’s meet in the final,” he emphasized.
Also in heat three was Benjamin Kigen who finished second in a time of 8:19.44, just 0.24 seconds behind Kipruto, and their team work could come in handy in the eventual race – Friday’s final.
“Conseslus looked behind and told me we are only two, he insisted I relax and save energy for the final. With all four of us in the final; what we need is a good race plan, to ensure all medals are destined for home,” said Kigen.
Abraham Kibiwot also secured a slot in the final after he finished third in heat two in a time of 8:18.44.
He said: “I have seen that people might lock someone inside and that’s why I want in the final to try a new strategy so that in the final sprint I stand a chance,” said Kibiwot.
Completing Kenya’s party in the final is Leonard Kipkemoi Bett who clocked 8:13.07 to secure the last automatic slot from heat one.
In the men’s 400m, national champion Alphas Kishoiyan quest for a spot in the final continues despite finishing third in heat one in a time of 45:65.
“The heat was tough but it’s good I made the semi final, and that was all what I wanted because there were some strong guys in the heat,” Kishoiyan told after the race.
His counterpart Emmanuel Korir, who lost the 800m race at the semi final stage, easily won heat six in a time of 45:08.
“It was not too fast and the expectations were not too high, let’s wait for the semi finals tomorrow where the stakes are a little different with only two making the final from every heat,” he said.
African High Jump champion Mathew Sawe got a rude welcoming to the World stage after finishing fifteenth at the qualifying stage.
He managed a single jump at 2.17m but faulted in 2.22m.