NAIROBI – World 800m record holder David Rudisha and Olympic 1,500 meters champion Asbel Kiprop began their quest for places in the London Olympics with easy wins in the Kenya trials Thursday.
Rudisha, fresh from clocking a season’s best 1:41.74 in the United States, strolled to an easy victory in one of the two heats to select the eight runners to go into Saturday’s final.
“I took it nice and easy. The important thing for me was to secure the ticket into the final,” said Rudisha, who ran 1:44.0.
Olympic bronze medallist Alfred Kirwa Yego won the second heat in a slow of 1:46.2, but the 2007 world champion will be hard-pressed to match a highly-charged pair of youngsters who also qualified for Saturday’s final.
Only the top two athletes in the final will qualify for the London Olympics, with the third being selected on a wild card.
Three weeks after failing in his attempt to make the team in the 10,000 meters at the Prefontaine Classic, Eliud Kipchoge is now focusing his sights on the 5,000m, in which he won the world title in Paris in 2003 and silver in Beijing four years ago.
Kipchoge, who also won bronze in the 2004 Olympics in Athens, took second place behind Isaiah Kiplangat Koech to book his place in the 5,000m final Saturday.
Pistorius in Paralympic team
Oscar Pistorius has been included in South Africa’s Paralympics team, but time is running out for the double-amputee sprinter to also qualify for the London Olympics.
“Blade runner” Pistorius and swimmer Natalie du Toit are among 62 athletes named by the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee Wednesday for the Aug. 29-Sept. 9 Paralympics.
Pistorius will defend his 100, 200 and 400-meter Paralympic titles, but he now has just 10 days to qualify for the Olympics and become the first amputee sprinter to compete at the games.
Johnson advises Felix
to stick to 200m only
If Allyson Felix is looking for advice about whether to try the 200-400 double at the London Olympics, Michael Johnson has a message for her: Don’t bother.
At the 1996 Atlanta Games, Johnson became the first man to win both the 200 and 400.
“Obviously, the primary goal has to be winning a (single) gold medal,” he told The Associated Press. “She hasn’t done that yet.”
Felix is a three-time world champion at 200 meters, but at the last two Olympics, she’s finished second in the 200 to Veronica Campbell-Brown of Jamaica. Felix has one gold medal in the 4x400-meter Olympic relay.
She has been talking about doubling in London and has signed up for all three sprints – the 100, 200 and 400 – for the US Olympic trials which begin Friday. But she hasn’t stated which events she’ll run in Eugene. — Agencies