Algerian Taoufik Makhloufi crushes Kenyans in the Men’s 1500m final
Posted by African Press International on August 8, 2012
Last night’s final race came with many surprises as the controversial Algerian Taoufik Makhloufi won gold medal at the Olympic Stadium in Stratford.
Leonel Manzano of the United States snatched silver and Morocco’s Abdalaati Iguider took bronze.
Makhloufi was reinstated to the finals on Monday after initially being disqualified by the IAAF for not trying in his 800 meters heat. His decision to rest his legs paid off as he sprinted away from the Kenyan athletes who were struggling to keep up with the Algerian.
The 1,500 meter race had three of Kenya’s best runners, Gold medal winner of the 2008 Summer Olympics Asbel Kiprop, Commonwealth Champion Silas Kiplagat and Diamond League crown holder Nixon Kiplimo Chepseba all failed to impress.
The outgoing Olympic champion Asbel Kiprop disclosed that he was injured on the final day of training in Nairobi, this affected his performance in yesterdays race in which he finished last. He was also defending his title.
“I ask Kenyans to understand and accept that the race has been won,” said Kiprop, adding: “I would have withdrawn from the race, but I felt my presence in the starting line was important to cheer up the team members although they knew my situation very well,” he said.
Injuries blamed for poor performances
Last night’s embarrassing performance brought heartache to Team Kenya and Kenyans who were cheering for the athletes. Kenyans took to social networking sites to vent their frustrations as Kenya’s best athletes flopped miserably. There are reports that four top athletes had injuries before traveling to London. It is not clear whether officials knew about this.
Joyce Chepkurui dropped out of the 10,000m final, she claimed that she was injured in Nairobi. Wilson Kiprop was also injured in Nairobi and did not finish his 10,000m race. Steeple chaser Milka Chemos Chewya finished fourth and had to be carried out of the track for treatment.
Kiprop was expected to be in the top three but he was unable to wriggle out of the pack. Kiplagat and Chepseba performances were also underwhelming. Kiplagat finished seventh in a time of 3:36:19 minutes. Nixon Kiplimo Chepseba was 11th in a time of 3:39:04 minutes with Kiprop finishing a disappointing 12th in a time of 3:43:83 minutes, one of the worst performances in Kenya’s history.
There are rumours of disagreements among top officials in the Kenyan contingent and Athletics Kenya counterparts, this is said to be impacting the athletes badly.
Yesterdays race has not been the only disappointing one, a lot of the athletes are below average, masquerading as fit to win medals. Many Kenyans are outraged by the poor performances in the Olympics, they will surely want to know how the Team Management could force injured athletes to run, when Kenya has thousands of runners.
Many members of parliament and officials traveled to London to support Team Kenya, courtesy of taxpayers money. If the Kenyan leaders start to politicize the games and internal disputes among sports officials continue, an athletic country like Kenya will soon be doomed. Just like the Kenyan Football.
“Rudisha” Kenya’s Superstar
Kenya’s 800m champion David Lekuta Rudisha is the favourite and hopes to take the 800m title in London, after missing out on selection for Beijing four years ago through an injury. Rudisha, whose world record stands at one minute 41.01 seconds is not after the record, but the medal.
“Once I get the medal, toward the end of the season I can think about the record,”he told reporters in London.
A lot is expected from David Rudisha in tonight’s finals, he is considered by many Kenyan fans as top favorite at the London Olympic Games. The 23-year old Masai runner hails from Kilgoris, Trans Mara District and is the son of Daniel Rudisha, a former runner who won silver at the 1968 Olympics as part of the Kenyan 4 × 400 m relay team. Rudisha’s mother Naomi is a former 400 m hurdler.
The Kenyan Team in London has also other top class athletes including Timothy Kitum who has qualified for the 800m final race. Hellen Onsando Obiri who is the only one who qualified for the Women’s 1,500m semi-finals. The race is due to start tonight at 22.00 European time.
Vivian Cheruiyot and Sally Kipyego have also qualified for the Women’s 5000m final which is set for Friday.
African Press International wishes the best to all the Kenyan athletes at the Olympics.
– By Elizabeth M. Koikai
Source: Standard Media
Source: Euro Sport