Kiprop storms to 800 world lead at relays trials, Rudisha wins in Melbourne

By evelyn watta
Mar 21, 2015

World champion Asbel Kiprop opened the track season with a cool 1:44.4 run in the men’s 800m at the Athletics Kenya third relay series on Saturday at the Nyayo National Stadium.

In Mebourne,David Rudisha showed his class with his second win over 800m in two Australian races, the Olympic champion finding a little bit extra along the straight just when it seemed Jeff Riseley might pull off an upset at the IAAF World Challenge meeting in Melbourne on Saturday.

Rudisha ran 1:44.94.

Kiprop who is priming for his 1500m title defense at the World championships in August in Beijing, led from the gun before speedily striding away from the chasing pack led by the World champion Alfred Kipketer with about 100m to go.

Kipketer who was part of the triumphant men’s relay team in Bahamas timed 1:45.0 with Nicholas Kiplagat third in 1:45.3.

“I was looking to gauge myself to see if my season is on the right take off,”offered Kiprop who is also the Olympic champion in the 1500m, pleased at his fast start proving that he is still hot stuff after an inconsistent season.

“Hopefully I will run the middle relays in the 800. Defending my title is my priority. I am not running many mile races this year like I did last year, my priority is Beijing.” London Olympic bronze medalist Timothy Kitum led the day’s second fastest heat over the two laps also choosing to run from the front before crossing the finish line in 1:46.2 ahead of Bernard Kipyego who clocked 1:47.7 and Ferguson Rotich looking to return to Bahamas.

Rotich, Kipketer, Sammy Kibet and Joe Kinyor made last year’s team.

Kishoyian rans men’s fastest 400m

Former world Youth Silver medalist Alphas Kishoyian got the start he wished for with an unbeatable 45.7 seconds, the fastest time on Kenyan soil this year.

"I am very pleased with this 45 was my target and got it. I am where I want to be.Bahamas then Beijing,"he said.

It was a race against the clock for Kishoyian,21, after the last bend with Jared Momanyi way off behind in second. Momanyi timed 47.6 with Geoffrey Kipkirui third in 48.1.

Boniface Mweresa, his relay teammate from the London Olympics and the world relays, led the second fastest heat in 46.1 which had former Commonwealth champion Mark Mutai closing in for second at 48.1. Kishoyian and Mweresa both won their respective semifinals to almost guarantee their Bahamas spots in 46.1 second and 46.3 respectively.

Sprints coach Stephen Mwaniki was impressed with the timings and he is certain the team can qualify for the Rio Olympics in Bahamas.

“The target in Bahamas certainly would be medal bracket but even more important is a top eight finish which will get us to Rio if not we wait till Beijing and target the same.”

The world relays will be held between May 2-5 with Kenya expected to pick the final team on April 1.

Rudisha sees off Riseley’s challenge 

Rudisha maintained his undefeated record over 800m in Australia after victory in Sydney a week earlier in 1:45.01, but the world record-holder did not have it all his own way.

Alex Rowe clung to his heels for 600m before the co-Australian record-holder gave way. Then Riseley pushed past Rowe and took some ground out of the great man around the final bend.

Just as it seemed his momentum would carry him on to Rudisha’s shoulder, however, the Olympic champion found another gear to win comfortably enough, 1:44.94 to 1:45.29.

“I knew I was there,” Rudisha said of Riseley’s charge. “I had a bit more to give.”