David Rudisha in Great Shape Ahead of Doha, by Justin Lagat, note by Larry Eder

As I lumbered off the red eye this morning from Los Angeles to Chicago, I went to a little Greek restaurant by Gate f7 in Ohare, grabbed my coffee and checked email. There was Justin Lagat's piece for this week, on David Rudisha. Just what I wanted to read! I hope you enjoy Justin's coverage of athletics in Kenya. It seems, many weeks, like we are just there with Justin on his runs and at his races....

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David Rudisha, 1:41.01, Rieti, 2010, courtesy of Omega

During the final AK (Athletics Kenya) meeting at Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi this weekend, David Rudisha and Asbel Kiprop did send a strong message to their fans and competitors ahead of the Doha meeting scheduled for this weekend, not by word of mouth, but by their actions, that they are in their best shapes ahead of this year's first IAAF Diamond League meeting.

While most other athletes who hail from around Eldoret and the entire North Rift region in general cried foul over the fact that the poor state of the track facilities in the area could not make it possible for the scheduled AK meeting to take place there, the incovenience may have turned out to favor Asbel and David who were consequently able to post great times in Nairobi. This was as a result of them being able to run on a standard tartan track instead of the rough one that would have been used in Eldoret.
David Rudisha managed to run his personal best time of 45.15 seconds in the 400m race. The fact that he did it on Kenyan soil was amazing. As of now, his time in the distance is faster than that of Usain Bolt, the world's fastest man by 13 micro-seconds. With that great performance, most are now eager to watch him run against Aman Mohammed at the IAAF Diamond League in Doha. Others are also more eager to know if he and Usain Bolt are finally going to clash in the 400m distance any time soon.

The following day, while expected to run in the finals, he was already out of Nairobi and could only speak in a live sports program via a video link with a KTN's sports anchor, which I was lucky to watch, having been tuned in to the station while he spoke.

He did not want to dwell much in predicting what his PB in the 400m could mean for him in the 800m event preferring instead to talk about it after his first performance at the event in Doha. He said he will be able to predict then whether he will be able to improve on his world record or not, depending on how he will feel. He plans to race in Doha, then New York and finally in Eugene before coming back into the country to prepare for the Moscow World Championships.

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Kiprop, Kiplagat, Doha 2012, photo by PhotoRun.net

Asbel Kiprop is another athlete who has just left his fans yearning more to watch him clash again with his main rival in most of last year's races, Silas Kiplagat, in the 1500m. Both started the year with endurance runs and participating in races longer than their favorite distance. Silas Kiplagat, in company of Ezekiel Kemboi and his large group, have been doing a number of 17km time trials, while Asbel Kiprop on the other side started the year by running a number of 12km cross country races. The two met to run the 5000m track event last month during an AK meeting in Nakuru, only that they were in different heats and never got to race against each other.
Other events that will be interesting to watch this Friday will include the women's 400m where Allyson Felix will compete against Amantle Montsho; the men's 100m that will feature the Olympic gold medalist, Justin Gatlin; Hagos Gebriwet running against Thomas Longosiwa in the men's 3000m; Eunice Sum, Aregawi Abeba and Genzebe Dibaba competing in the women's 1500m; Lolo Jones featuring in the women's 100m hurdles and Simpson Sherone and Fraser Pryce clashing in the women's 200m.

David Rudisha blazes away in Doha, May 2012, 
photo by PhotoRun.net

As the IAAF Diamond League races begin, the time records I will be personally most interested to watch are in the 1500m and the 800m events. My two favorite athletes this season are David Rudisha and Asbel Kiprop, and I know I share my sentiments with many athletes and fans around here. We just can't wait to see what will happen in these races ahead of us.

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