ATHLETICS: Frustration and bruised egos as top runners fail to make the cut
Story by CHRIS MUSUMBA
Publication Date: 7/6/2008
Relief, joy, frustration and bruised egos marked the national Olympics trials as elite runners confirmed their trip to Beijing while others saw their Olympic dreams go up in smoke.
There will be no Africa champion David Rudisha, the second fastest man this season in the 800m race, Isaac Songok, double 10,00m and 5,000m World Military games champion Mark Kiptoo and 3,000m steeplechase Olympic bronze medallist Paul Kipsiele Koech.
They are among the over 300 athletes who had converged at the stadium in anticipation of making the cut to take part in the 24th Olympics Games which kicks off in Beijing from August 8.
The race at Nyayo, was like a mini-Olympics with the entry list in the middle and long distance races having some of the fastest and best athletes in the world. But only 37 (six marathoner and 31 track runners) will be boarding the flight to the Chinese capital.
Some of the top names that were overwhelmed by the opposition include World 1,500m bronze medallist Shadrack Korir (3:38.13) and world indoor silver medallist Daniel Kipchirchir Komen (3:38.90) in the four lap event. Korir and Komen, were dwarfed in a race that saw the return of the Commonwealth games 5,000m champion Augustine Choge.
Choge who missed last season action with a leg injury has been groomed by the head coach Julius Kirwa with instruction to do everything to deny American Bernard Lagat a double in Beijing.
In the field was also Asbel Kiprop, the All Africa Games champion, whom many have likened to Sydney 2000 champion Noah Ngeny. In 10,000m Mark Kiptoo finished fourth and was left out.
The world will also be denied the prospects of the world fastest prodigies Rudisha (1:43.06) and Abubaker Kaki (1:42.69) meeting in Beijing. Rudisha, sustained a calf strain and missed the trials while Kaki will be leading the Sudanese challenge in China. Kenya will be represented by Wilfred Bungei, Boaz Kiplagat Lalang and Alfred Kirwa Yego.
But, it was double tragedy for Kipsiele Koech who missed last World Championship in Osaka after sustaining a hamstring injury. He ran out of gas in the final sprint to be edged out by Africa champion Richard Matelong.