• Kenyans determined to triumph despite the odds

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Sep 01, 2011-After gruelling qualification rounds on Thursday in sub 30 degrees celsius at the IAAF world athletics championships,Kenyan runners remained optimistic of approaching the semi finals and finals event here in Daegu.

As the Korean Meteorological Administration issued a heat warning for Daegu on the day's temperatures which hit a high of 33 degrees Celsius,Kenyan runners were amongst hundreds who had to bear the scorching conditions on the track and field chasing qualification.

"The condition today was terrible!"muttered Kipchoge after placing 4th in 13:39.02 from his qualifying heat as stream of sweat dripping down his face and his running gear drenched.
"I have never ran under such conditions in my life. But anyway we managed to qualify so now its time to go and sit with the rest and strategise for the finals."

Since his surprising win of World title in Paris in 2003,Kipchoge one of the seasoned runners in the Kenyan team has consistently managed to make the team to the worlds but a podium place has eluded him in the past four editions of the championships.

Then barely 19, Kipchoge followed up his World junior cross country win the five months earlier with a Gold in the 5000m and is  now looking to the resilient Mondo track in Daegu to catapult him to the medal bracket.

World Bronze medalist Ethiopian Imane Merga and the Silver medalist from Sunday's 10000m British Mohammed Farah were impressive in their heat finishing first and second respectively giving a glimpse of what to expect in the final, with a good-natured jovial sprint for the finish line.

Merga timed at 13:37.96 with Farah at 13:38.03 and another Ethiopian Abera Kuma in third(13;38.41) just ahead of Kipchoge in the heat marred by jostling and pushing which led to some falls.

"I have been chilling out over the last two days. I just want to take a hot bath now and get ready to run the final,"said Farah beaming with confidence.

Kenyan born Bernard Lagat now running for team US had an equally good run in the first heat,the fastest of the heats stopping the clock in 13:33.90 with Kenyan Thomas Longosiwa marking his debut at the world championships with a strong 13;34.46 finish. Dejen Gebremeskel ranked third in the qualification with Kenya's teenage sensation and holder of the world junior record over the distance imposing in fourth place in 13:34.54.

"I was just going there,running in a very controlled manner,following the guys in front.I wanted to be top three. I won it and its a great motivation for the final,"remarked Lagat who will only compete in the 5000m and will not defend his title in the 1500m.
World silver medalist Janeth Jepkosgei, Cherono Koech and Eunice Sum all made the semifinals of the 800m scheduled for Friday.

Sum was fourth from the fastest heat of the day(2:01.37) won by British Jennifer Meadows in 2:01.11.

Jepkosgei led from start to finish of heat heat clocking 1:59.36 as Koech shrugged off knee pain to book her semi final berth in heat four in 2:01.03 behind the defending champion South African Caster Semenya and Russian Mariya Savinova who both returned 2.01.01.

The men's relay 4 x 400m Relay team of Vincent Kosgei, Anderson Mureta, Vincent Mumo and Mark Mutai ran their season best of 3:00.97 as they qualified third behind Belgium and Russia for friday's final.

Double amputee Oscar Pistorius led off his the South African in qualifying for the final with a new national record of 2:59.21 behind sprint masters USA (2:58.82) and Jamaica(2:59.13). 


 Evelyn Watta in Daegu

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