Focus on the Kenyan Men's 10,000 meter team to Beijing, China, A view from Kenya, by Justin Lagat

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Kenyan Men's 10,000 meter WC Trials, photo by Justin Lagat

The 10,000 meters on August 22, 2015, will be one of the highlights of the 2015 IAAF World Championships. Here is how Justin Lagat believes his countrymen will perform in the Bird's Nest, the stadium that hosted the 2008 Olympics. 

Focus on the Kenyan men's 10,000m team to Beijing, China.

There is definitely a greater chance for the Kenyan men's 10,000m team to do better this time round than they have ever done at the world championships in the last fourteen years.

From the days of Paul Koech winning a gold medal in 1987, to Moses Tanui winning another gold medal in 1991 and Richard Chelimo winning a silver in the same year, to Paul Tergat winning silver medals in 1997 and 1999, up to Charles Kamathi winning the last 10,000m gold medal for Kenya in 2001, Kenyan athletes were a force to be reckoned with in this event.

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Men's 10,000m, Kenyan Trials, photo by Justin Lagat

But then, soon after those great achievements, they have not been able to achieve anything more than a bronze medal at the world championships since then.

Having watched the 10,000m event at the Kenyan trials to select the Kenyan team to Beijing and also the Prefontaine Classic 10,000m race that preceded that, I can confidently say that Kenya will go back to its earlier glory in this event at the world championships in Beijing. My guess is that they will win at least two medals in this event. Mark my words.

The athletes going to represent Kenya in this event are Geoffrey Kamworor, Bedan Karoki and Paul Tanui having finished at the first three positions, in that order, at the Kenyan trials.

Watching the race at the Safaricom Kasarani Stadium as it started out quite slowly and gradually picked up pace until it reached a pace that I had never seen before being run live in a 10,000m race. I posted on my twitter account that it didn't look like a 10,000m race.

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Men's 10,000 meters, Kenyan WC Trials, photo by Justin Lagat

The race then slowed down a little bit with about four laps to go, when the three of them were safely far ahead of the rest and could even be seen talking amongst themselves. But, still the time they posted proved to me that I had indeed watched an historic live 10,000m event. Geoffrey Kamworor had crossed the finish line first in a time that was fifteen seconds faster than any time ever recorded in the history of the 10,000m race on Kenyan soil.

Geoffrey Kamworor is the reigning world half marathon and world cross country champion. What I like about him is that he sets his eyes on a world title and confidently makes his strong intentions known. There are many other athletes who are focusing on winning the 10,000m world title, and Kamworor is one who has repeatedly posted on his social media accounts that he really wants this title. In Beijing, it will be a matter of who needs it the most.

Bedan Karoki finished second at the national trials. He is a fearless runner who doesn't fear becoming a rabbit in any stage of the race. His presence in Beijing will ensure that the 10,000m race will remain lively and fast throughout.

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And then, there were three, photo by Justin Lagat

Paul Tanui, who won a bronze medal at the Moscow world championships, was third at the Kenyan trials, and just like Karoki doesn't fear running in front. The only difference between them is that Karoki surges forward for about a lap and relaxes back into the pack, but Tanui maintains a steady pace for a number of laps. 

I can say they both make a good combination in a 10,000m race.

At the Pre Classic 10,000m event, which was arguably the highest profile 10,000m race this year, Mo Farah had won the race as Paul Tanui and Geoffrey Kamworor came in second and third respectively.

 However, looking at the results of the Kenyan trials it makes me wonder whether Kamworor has improved his form better than Tanui's, or whether Tanui's form has gone poorer than it was during the Eugene Diamond league race.

I guess the position that Mo Farah will take in Beijing on the evening of 22nd this month, which is slightly less than two weeks from now, holds the answers to these questions.

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