Jelimo, Rudisha to launch season campaign in Kenya

Nairobi, April 30 (IANS) Olympics 800m champion David Rudisha and the World Indoor winner Pamela Jelimo have put their opponents on notice as they prepare to launch their season campaign here Friday.

Jelimo, who was beaten to fourth place at the Olympics, is ruing her tactical mistakes and said she has learnt the hard way, reports Xinhua.

The 2008 Beijing Olympics champion, is now ready to step off the blocks in 2013 and will launch her international show in Shanghai, China during the second leg of the Diamond League series.

“I am in perfect shape. Need to get the competitive edge because I have not run in any meaningful race this year. The challenge ahead is tough and the qualification programme is tight. I want to be in the best shape when I go abroad to compete,” she said here Monday.

On the other hand, Rudisha, who is also World Champion and record holder (1:40.90), is expected in Nairobi for his first event.

Rudisha, who races sparingly, was due to launch his season last week, in Mumias Town, Western Kenya, but pulled out with a bout of flu.

“I am disappointed to miss Mumias meet but instead I did a long run of 13km that cleared out the cold that I had,” Rudisha said on his twitter page. “Running in Nairobi will be an option.”

Both Jelimo and Rudisha will run the shorter 400m distance to gauge their speed. Olympic 800m bronze medallist Timothy Kitum, who is not afraid to say he wants to fit in Rudisha’s shoes, is another 800m star expected to run in Nairobi.

“I know my body better than anyone. I decided to cut down on the number of races to focus on the World Championships. But I will also be back in USA to run in the build up to the Moscow Worlds,” said Rudisha.

Throw in former world 3000m steeplechase champion Paul Koech Kipsiele and former 5000m youth champion Isaiah Koech, World Junior 1,500m champion Faith Chepngetich, world 3000m indoor champion Hellen Obiri, former Olympic 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop and Winnie Chebet and it becomes toxic for the faint-hearted.

“We are delighted to have been given this opportunity to host the contest. The stars are all here and want to shake off the rust and be ready for the international competitions, which will culminate with the World Championships in Moscow in August,” said Athletics Kenya official Barnaba Korir.

For Rudisha, Nairobi will be a stepping-stone as he is headed to Doha, May 10.

This will be Rudisha’s sixth visit in the lone Middle East IAAF Diamond League meeting. He first travelled to Doha in 2007 as a junior and finished sixth, clocked 1:45.55.

In 2008 he registered his maiden victory in 1:44.36 and after a short non-winning break in 2009, when he was fourth with a time of 1:44.78, he bounced back with two impressive wins in 2010 and 2012, setting world leading marks in both races with 1:43.00 (the current meeting record) and 1:43.10, respectively.

“It’s always nice to return in Doha. I have great memories from the Qatar Sports Club track, where I have won three times so far. The spectators are always enthusiastic and push the athletes to their limits,” he said.

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