Commonwealth Games – Glasgow : Kenya’s Gold, Bleed and Ugly

2014 and it is exactly 60 years since a Kenyan sports personality made it to any international sporting event! And this event was the Commonwealth Games in 1954 ( had previously been known as British Empire Games).

Glasgow 2014 – image courtesy of glasgow.com

With such rich heritage and a storied past, the 2014 edition ought to have been a done deal for Kenyan sport but alas! It is another skewed performance from a contingent of 169 athletes and officials. A misnomer of the Commonwealth Games is that fierce competitors, Ethiopia and other North African countries do not participate.
But even without these countries, Glasgow exposed the scope of Kenya’s famed athletes. Out of the 13 disciplines, only 3 managed to get to the podium.

Stand-Outs: 

  1. Julius Yego – Javelin Gold standard – first ever field event Gold
    medal in major c’ships. Even without proper training facilities and technical support he keeps getting better;
Julius Yego – Golden Throw – www.getty.com

2. Eunice Sum – 800m – she’s the reigning world champ and she turned up for the another sterling performance;3. Caleb Ndiku – 5000m – coming of age, he was named 2010 SOYA
most promising athlete and showed why. Exit Ezekiel Kemboi too we have another performer…

Disappointments:

David Rudisha – 800m Silver – World/Olympic
champ & WR holder, we expected nothing short of Gold, even with a poor season so far;

Jason Dunford – Swimming – he finally admitted
frustrations/lack of Kenya’s Swimming Federation support ( and no officials are sacked..???);

Kenya 7s team – after finishing 2nd
in the table standings in the preliminaries, they met their match in New Zealand who ended our first rugby Commonwealth medal chances

Special Mentions:

  1. Conrad Nkanata – US-based sprinter – finished 3rd
    in his 200m heat, with proper training he can be a future sprinter;
  2. Benson Gicharu – Boxer – even with time running
    out for his amateur boxing career, he is still punching it out at major sports
    events

Kenya Sports (Mis)management:

The charade of Kenyan officials in managing the team
continued. First it was delayed allowances due to athletes. Second was the kit
issue with missing or delayed kit to Team Kenya.  Third was late accreditation which meant
missed attendance by cyclist, David Kinjah among others. Fourth and it’s truly
out of personal frustration was lack of technical/financial support as well as
favouritism in team selection. These last were raised not just by
non-traditional disciplines but also swimmers such as Jason Dunford who may
have had his swansong representing the country in any sport.

Golden Girls – 3000m s’chase Kenyan trio

We have said this before and shall repeat it for the
umpteenth time. Kenya’s sport management needs to change RADICALLY! Why have more than 10 disciplines and only 2-3
have any chance of winning medals? Can more investment be made on a few of
these or if all disciplines are represented, get proper exposure to have
winning chance(s).

  •    Kitting
    – what business goes on with kit which has been acquired for national duty? Why
    should some official conveniently forget to order this in time? Other times
    they issue it to non-participants or stock it in local shops. Sponsors should
    also review such misdemeanor and cancel contracts for misallocated kits.
  •    Allowances
    – we saw the embarrassment of African teams in World Cup. It did not even take
    a month before our own officials replicated that same template. Why should
    individual be charged with responsibility of managing team finances? In future
    all participants should supply account details and monies sent direct to them
    like regular pay.
  •    Size of
    squad
    – how many officials are really needed to attend international events
    even when their disciplines have no chance of winning a bronze medal?
    Participation should be on how successful a sport is at regional, continental
    or international duty.
  •    Technical/Financial
    details
    – for most disciplines Kenya has lost a semblance of international
    standards. From boxing, swimming to even some athletics events, the edge of
    advances in technical knowledge is lacking. Spotlight is on sports federations’
    internal wrangles and lack of international best practice to compete at such
    levels.
As usual we shall be treated to excuses and made to forget what has become perennial under-achieving by our national team(s). As a nation,we need to demand accountability from those in charge of our sports bodies. The Government must also stop playing deaf and be more forceful in getting officials to straighten their act. 
It is no wonder that most athletes prefer running in Grand Prix events, others opting to quit even before their prime as a frustrated lot. See what is happening to the football fraternity? 

Kenyan National Honours, who makes the Sports Category shortlist?

Jamhuri or Independence/Republic Day is usually the last major national day on the Kenyan calendar. This day also serves as  when the list of state commendations or honours are awarded to various Kenyan nationals who have served diligently and exceptionally within the given calendar year or in their lifetime. It is structured in the same vein of civil awards and decorations such as are awarded in the UK ( Kenya’s former colonial master), US et cetera.

Kenya State Commendation Bars
Image courtesy  of http://www.coleccionesmilitares.com/

Immediately after Kenya’s independence, the roll of honour was largely composed of politicians, businessmen, educationists and sadly cronies of the Government of the day. This was perpetuated in by the Moi government in the 1980s and 90s. Then came the Kibaki era which is coming to its sunset days. Again not much change there and though there have been a couple of deserving Kenyans who have been awarded, there are also some ‘suprises’ who show up every now and then. (FYI -In 2012, two of the President’s children or is it First Family’s were among those honoured)
Do you always wonder if you have made the list or at least someone who you know deserves? It was a bit of an embarrassment for the Kenyan state in 2004 when the Nobel Committee honoured Wangari Maathai with its Prize for Peace while back home the best we could do is offer her a Deputy Ministerial post with its lowly honours and priviledges.

All the same we have a list of the honours listed as follows;

  • Order of the Golden Heart – Chief/First Class(only Kenyan Head of State & other exemplary people from other parts of the world are awarded this) denoted as CGH, Elder/Second Class (EGH), Moran/Third Class (MGH)
  • Order of the Burning Spear – Chief (CBS), Moran (MBS) and Elder (EBS)
  • Order of the Grand Warrior of Kenya (OGW) 
  • Silver Star (SS)
  • Head of State Commendation ( HSC)
  • Distinguished Service Medal
  • Distinguished Conduct Order

This year there were a couple of sports personalities awarded including;

  • David Lekuta Rudisha (MBS)
  • Sam Nyamweya (MBS)

Last year’s list included among others;

  • Collins Injera (OGW)
  • Humphrey Kayange (OGW)

Other previous honours include Catherine Ndereba (DSM & OGW), Tecla Loroupe (OGW), Ezekiel Kemboi (OGW), Jason Dunford (OGW) and Paul Tergat (MBS) to name but a few.

Pres. Kibaki garlands The Aga Khan with Chief of Golden Heart (CGH) honours – 2007

Now my beef starts with the ‘economy of that list’. It was too short considering there are many sports personalities worthy of recognition whether still active, retired or post-humously. This has been done before. For example, Kenya never honoured her late boxing hero Robert Wangila Napunyi, marathoner Samuel Wanjiru, footballer Jonathan Niva, former tennis star Paul Wekesa et cetera.
Secondly, what criteria do the State operatives use to vet those deserving of these awards? Yeah what great honour did some of those mentioned bring us? For example, football honcho Sam Nyamweya though in charge of Football Kenya Federation currently, our take is that he has not really lived up to expectations. In fact, he could be part of why Kenyan football languishes in mediocrity. Look at how they handled the Henri Michel case. What about Sakata Ball?
Finally we’re reminded that there was supposed to be a Heroes Corner at Uhuru Gardens. What happened to that initiative? Athletics Kenya came up with its own Sports Museum to try and honour those who achieved great deeds in the sport for the country, though it doesn’t quite measure up to standards.

Next year at a time like this,we shall be having a new government and hope that they will improve on the way  we honour our sports people. They have been our greatest and most consistent ambassadors and should treated as such if not better!

David Rudisha shines for #TeamKenya with New World Record na Viatu vinang’ara na KIWI!!!

One of Kenya’s biggest athletics hopefuls finally took
to the track at exactly 2200hours and what a spectacle it was. Leading from the
front, David Rudisha proved why he’s the reigning world champion and the world
record holder to boot.
He managed to beat a host of athletes from other
countries including Abubakar Kaki – from Sudan and local athletes Timothy Kitum
to take gold in a world record time of 1 min 40:91secs. This is truly one of the most
outstanding performances by any of the athletics Olympians not just from Kenya
but for Africa too.
David Rudisha proves once again why Kenya is still one
of the leading lights in matters athletics and what it means to be a champion.
Keeping it neat and tight at the front and always looking to be in charge of
the race. Of course this is in keeping all major titles from African to World
and now Olympic titles, strapped in the boots.
Talking of boots, we know how David Rudisha has managed
to stay in tip-top condition and become not just a winning athlete but also a
role model to his fellow countrymen. When it comes to staying crisp and sharp,
we saw what he can do during the IAAF World Athlete of the Year Awards held in Monaco
in 2010…(as well the Kenyan Sportsman of the Year) If the cameras had zoomed in closer and further down his lithe self,
they would have captured his smart designer shoes of course shining courtesy of
Kiwi.  
Over the years, Kiwi shoe products have become synonymous
with the way one stands out.
David Rudisha – Image courtesy of  www.letsrun.com

It is often said that most ladies will pick out a
man from the way his shoes look like. What better way for a man to get his
shine on by picking on any of the Kiwi brands.  
With a wide range of polish solutions from the
evergreen shoe polish, shoe wax which is meant to enhance the look of your
valued shoes and leather products. Whether it’s your weekend boots, or the
handy leather lap-top bag and belts as well as other leather accessories, Kiwi
products are sure to make them last longer and look sharper. And even for your
running and fitness sneakers and rubbers, there is Kiwi cream to make sure you
look good when practicing those hamstrings and stretching the muscles.
Going back to the Olympics, we have seen many stars
coming out to win their country medals. This is not only a personal victory for
each athlete; it is also victory for their countries too. These victories serve
as a major inspiration to the upcoming and young athletes. We have all seen how
meticulous those in the disciplined forces take to shining their shoes. It
reflects a lot not just the person’s personality but how good their character
and potent they may possess in serving their nations. David Rudisha is one such
person representing the Kenya Police.
Rudisha and his ilk will surely inspire the next group
of athletes to compete in future Olympic competitions. This will be with their way
of showing not just the young ones but also the rest of us what it takes to be
a champion. Their track exploits go beyond the races into their way of life.
Serving as role models in every other sphere is truly the making of a champion.
And for champions there is always the need to have
trusted brands grooming your every road to success. Kiwi is the way to shine
and David Rudisha shines for #TeamKenya!

Olympics 2012 – Kenya busy missing Gold, what gives?

This weekend marked the start of the athletics programme in the ongoing London 2012 Olympic Games. From initial forecasts and given Kenya’s pedigree in the middle and long distance, it was finally a chance for Kenyans to cheer on #TeamKenya.
But things went awry from that first day when Ethiopia’s Tirunesh Dibaba took her Gold in the 10,000m for the 3rd consecutive Olympics after winning in Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008 ( remember she missed the World Athletics championships in Daegu at the World Athletics c’ships in 2011). Two of the Kenyan athletes did land the Silver and Bronze medals.
Second day and things went from bad to worse when the form book was suddenly changed with Great Britain’s Mo Farah won the 10,000m followed by US’s Galen Rupp while Ethiopia’s emerging talent in Bekele’s younger brother, Tariku was placed third.
Sunday and while we expected double gold, it was only a single one courtesy of Ezekiel Kemboi in the 3000m steeplechase ( and Bronze too from Mutai). The women marathon trio could only manage a Silver after running a tactical race but still wearing out before the final 5km.

What has been happening in London has been disappointing but not too shocking for those with a keener eye for matters athletics.
The team selection was first questioned especially for the 5,000m and 10,000m -men and women- when Athletics Kenya decided to take the trials for these races to Prefontaine – Oregon (USA). While our athltes were busy shuttling flights abroad, foreign athletes including Team GB’s Mo Farah, Paula Radcliffe and US’ Galen Rupp were pitching camp in the Rift Valley high altitude training facilities in Iten.

Next was the controversy in the marathon teams selection. It was decided that the selection would be done after the London marathon which coincidentally ought to have been the ideal case of knowing the route. But alas the closeness of the race seemed to have cost Kenya the title due to fatigue, burn-out or a combination of other factors. The men’s team had to leave out one of the earlier selected athletes {The men’s marathon is the last event of the Games and though #TeamKenya fans would love to see Kenyan athletes come through…the jury’s still out there}

Then just a few weeks to the Games, Ezekiel Kemboi was moving between the courts and the cop stations to answer to alleged charges of rape. Though he did manage to get off to go to London, there is that small matter that he will have to answer to once back to Kenya. Though AK & NOC-K officials may not want to admit it, this must have been of concern within the camp. Kemboi is one of the biggest attractions on the Kenyan track, thanks to his antics on winning any of his major races. The accusations and media glare was almost reminiscent of what cost Kenya a world-class marathoner in the late Samuel Wanjiru.

Going into the 4th and 5th days in the athletics programme where Kenya’s only medal hopes, the performance in Beijing 2008 now seems like a bar too high to achieve. Or shall the Rudishas, Jelimos, Kiprops, Cheruiyots do otherwise? Pray you do!

ION
Since Kenya seems to have struck the endorsement deal with Nike, wonder why none of our athletes seem to feature in their campaigns for London 2012 or preceding the Games. We have seen others like Visa International, P&G to name but a few. Maybe it’s time that deal is revisited. And anyway, we’re never told how much its worth. A little disclosure from NOC-K and AK maybe?

Olympics 2012 – Kenya, This is IT!

The 4 year cycle is over & this time London it is! The Olympic Games – multiple-sport biggest sporting extravaganza. And Kenya is firmly in there to claim its place. For those who read this blog, we’ll give a few of our own thoughts on what we think of Kenya’s hopes at these Games;

Flying the Kenyan Flag

Athletics:
Our (over)-reliance on this means once again, it is and remains the biggest prospects for medals. There are quite a number of world-beaters, from world champions to world record holders as well as reigning Olympic medallists.
Predictions:
800m:
Men (Gold)  Women (Gold)

1500m:
Men (Gold and Silver) Women (Silver)

3000m steeplechase:
Men ( Gold, Silver & Bronze); Women ( Gold and Bronze)

5000m:
Men ( Bronze); Women ( Silver)

10000m
Men (Silver); Women ( Gold)

Marathon:
Men (Gold and Bronze); Women ( Gold, Silver)

4 X 400m (Men) – The one-lap runners will most likely make to the Final (if they don’t drop the baton or run outside their lane). But the traditional teams of US, Caribbean and even Team GB will still be too strong to overcome.

Javelin: It will be a honourable mention to Julius Yego but he can’t beat the Eastern Europeans and Scandinavian throwers. They’re way ahead technically and physically. 

Boxing:
No offence to our boxers but the best we can manage is a Bronze by Benson Gicharu. This is because the game is quite technical nowadays and the scoring system is quite something. The preparations were not up to standard but this Kenyan cop can pack a punch all the way to the semis.

Swimming:
Jason Dunford will once again get to the Finals of the 100m butterfly on the back of some great outings in the World Swimming c’ships and Africa c’ships & All-Africa Games. David Dunford might also make it through the heats but as for the Finals, still anyone’s guess…

Weighlifting:
This is another sport Kenya has never quite excelled at Olympic Games level and this year it won’t be any different. The techniques, lack of proper training as well as physical challenges are some of the reasons why.

Total Medal Haul Forecast:
 8 Gold 5 Silver & 4 Bronze
Put on a good show Kenyans and we shall be rooting for you to beat our medal forecast and bring more home. We shall be proud as always for your sterling show! Go #TeamKenya!

Kenya’s Olympic Trials – Some ‘Mini Olympics’

Its interesting that the races going on this weekend are referred to as trials, should be more like qualifiers…maybe we’re unfazed by the English language… Speaking of the English, just over a month to go, Kenya shall be sending her contingent to London for the 2012 Summer Olympics. Athletics has been and remains Kenya’s mainstay for the gold haunt.

With a total of 78 medals won in all Olympic Games Kenya has participated in, Athletics has won us, 69 – 28 Gold 27 Silver and 19 Bronze.

These Games will be no exception and this weekend, some of the races that Kenya expects to harvest medals in shall know its representatives. They are;

  • 800m men
  • 1500m men and women
  • 3000m steeplechase (men)
  • 5000m men and women
The qualifiers in these races will join others who have already qualified by virtue of attaining the times and being named by Athletics Kenya and include 4 x 400m men’s team, javelin (men), marathon teams (both men and women) and the 10000m men and women.This is to hoping only the best emerge and no controversial decisions crop up from the complaints of wild card selections et al. 
We do wish the all athletes, the best in their respective races and let’s pull one better than we did in Beijing 2008. The potent you have from last year’s World Athletics Championships means you’re true world-beaters. Our heritage with our former colonial masters ought to be good enough inspiration. 
Do it!

UPDATE:
Saturday marked the culmination of one of the hotly contested Olympic tickets in recent history. No major upsets were realised and most of the favourites registered good times and easily booked tickets. Preview of the some of those who made the final list of Olympic finalists is as follows;



Men:
800mDavid Rudisha, Timothy Kitum, Job Kinyor
1500m – Asbel Kiprop, Nixon Chepseba, Silas Kiplagat
5000m – Isaiah Kiplangat, Edwin Soi, Thomas Longosiwa
10000m – Wilson Kiprop, Moses Masai, Bitan Karoki
Marathon – Wilson Kipsang, Abel Kirui, Emmanuel Mutai
400m hurdles – Vincent Koskei
3000m steeplechase – Brimin Kipruto, Abel Mutai, Ezekiel Kemboi
4 X 400m – David Rudisha, Mark Mutai, Vincent Mumo, Vincent Koskei, Anderson Mureta

Women:
800m – Pamela Jelimo, Janeth Jepkosgei, Winnie Chebet
1500m – Hellen Obiri, Eunice Sum, Faith Chepngetich
5000m – Vivian Cheruiyot, Sally Kipyego, Viola Kibiwott
10000m – Vivian Cheruiyot, Sally Kipyego, Linet Chepkirui
Marathon – Mary Keitany, Edna Kiplagat, Priscah Jeptoo
3000m steeplechase – Lydia Rotich, Mercy Njoroge, Milcah Chemos

ZUKU to air 2012 Samsung IAAF Diamond League Athletics series…

Diamond League logocourtesy of IAAF

As part of improving its sports menu, Zuku has confirmed that it has live broadcast rights for the 2012 Diamond  League sponsored by Samsung ( now in its 4th year of sponsoring the League). With the Diamond Series having a total of 15 Grand Prix events which started in Doha on 11th May traversing various American, European and Asian cities with the final event being held in Brussels on 7th September 2012.
These Grand Prix events will be used by many athletes to warm up for the upcoming Olympic Games in London from July to August. It will also serve as great breeding grounds for upcoming talents for which Kenyan and African athletes have continually dominated especially in the middle to long distance races. The same will go for individual rivalries being settled by the cut of the tape. Further enticement from the organisers is breaking of world records in the individual disciplines for the favoured athletes.

ZUKU logocourtesy of www.zuku.com

Entertainment for you the discerning athletics fans and watching audience of ZUKU programmes will be happy to note that the likes of Usain Bolt, David Rudisha, Vivian Cheruiyot, Pamela Jelimo have already run in the first 2 events and shall surely be part of some if not a fair share of the GPs.
As Hannelie Bekker -MD Wananchi Programming ( ZUKU) aptly put it, “ZUKU is proud to be broadcasting the 2012 Samsung Diamond League and proud of Kenyan athletes. They are some of Africa’s brightest stars…”

The remaining Grand Prix events in the Diamond League series to be screened by ZUKU are as follows;

  1. 31st May : Rome – Italy ( 2000 – 2200 hours Local East Africa time)
  2. 2nd June: Eugene – USA ( 1130 – 1330hrs)
  3. 7th June: Oslo – Norway ( 2000 – 2200hrs)
  4. 9th June: New York – USA ( 1500 – 1700hrs)
  5. 6th July: Paris – France ( 2000 – 2200hrs)
  6. 13th July: London – England ( 1900 – 2100hrs)
  7. 14th July: London – England ( 1500 – 1700hrs)
  8. 20th July: Monaco – Monaco ( 2000 – 2200hrs)
  9. 17th August: Stockholm – Sweden ( 2000 – 2200hrs)
  10. 23rd August: Lausanne – Switzerland ( 2000 – 2200hrs)
  11. 26th August: Birmingham – England (1500 – 1700hrs)
  12. 30th August: Zurich – Switzerland (2000 – 2200hrs)
  13. 7th September: Brussels – Belgium (2000 – 2200hrs)

Rudisha & Bolt for a 4×400 relay showdown at London Olympics ???

In what could be one of the biggest highlights of the 2012 London Olympic Games, plans maybe underway for a showdown between the fastest man on Earth in the 100m & 200m races against the longer version of the 800m.

David Rudisha

Though nothing is confirmed yet, David Rudisha could most likely be included in anchoring the 4 x 400m men’s relay and be up against Jamaica’s Usain Bolt who’s main specialities are the 100m , 200m and 4 x 100m races. It could be far-fetched as none of the two is a one-lap specialist but seeing the potential that it would bring in terms of viewership, prestige and national pride in winning an additional medal not just for oneself but for their country, anything is possible.
First off though will be making the cut for their respective national teams in the Olympic Games pre-trials starting in June. Then comes the tricky part of maintaining tip-top fitness conditions amidst the Grand Prix races and finally winning in their respective specialities.

TV rights holders and sponsors of these athletes would be rubbing their hands with glee at the prospects of this showdown. Let’s see what comes of it.

Point to Note:
Remember Kenya won gold in the 4 x 400 m men’s relay in the Munich Games in 1972. Can they repeat this feat by adding this world beater?

2011 World Athlete of the Year Award – IAAF nominates 3 Kenyans

IAAF announced the nominees for the 2011 World Athlete of the Year Awards both men and women. Kenya got its 3 names with last year’s winner David Rudisha and Patrick Makau nominated for the men’s award while Vivian Cheruiyot was nominated for the ladies version.

Image courtesy of www.iaaf.org

Going by the exploits on the track (and field where applicable), Kenya’s Vivian Cheruiyot is heads and shoulders above most of the nominees, sample this;

Vivian Cheruiyot in Daegu 2011www.iaaf.org

In 2010, she won the African championships in 5000m held in Nairobi and also won the gold in the Commonwealth Games held in New Delhi in October. She competed in the Diamond League being part of the winnings that same season. She crowned the year by winning the 5km race in Bolzano, Italy known as the BOClassic  popularly known as the Corsa Internazionale di San Silvestro.
Come 2011, she started her year by leading Kenya’s senior women’s cross-country team to collecting individual and team titles. The big one though was the World Championships held in Daegu where she opted to do both the 5000m and 10,000m easily collecting gold in both events; a first from any Kenyan both male or female.
Our other two nominees for finalists would be Valeria Adams -shot-putter and Sally Pearson -100m women’s hurdler.
As for the men, our bet is on Usain Bolt taking the male category. After missing out the better part of last year through injury, he was the best bet for double gold in 100 & 200m but a disqualification meant he ended up with the 200m but came back to anchor the Jamaican 4x100m men to end the World Championships on a high ( while breaking the world-record at it!).
The other 2 nominees would be fellow Jamaican sprinter Yohan Blake and David Rudisha.
According to www.iaaf.org; an e-mail poll is ongoing to close on 23rd October, after which 3 finalists in both male and female categories will be selected and announced by the IAAF. The winners will be announced from these during the 2011 World Athletics Gala on 12th November.

World Athletics in Daegu – Kenya’s Chances

The 13th and so far largest World Athletics Championships starts in Daegu( the country’s ‘greenest city’)- South Korea in 5 days. Kenya as one of the athletics powerhouse is expected its largest contingent. But as we’d know size does not always matter as other countries have been easily eroding the chances our athletes have of reaping more medals.Image courtesy of www.IAAF.org

Ethiopia is by far the largest threat in the middle and longer distance races especially with the return of our nemesis, Kenenisa Bekele. We also have the Ugandan-born middle distance runners who gave Kenyans a scare during the Commonwealth Games.

We shall look at the chances that our athletes have as follows;

MEN:

800m ( Prediction:Gold & Silver)

Unless they pick injuries , David Rudisha and Alfred Kirwa are the athletes to beat in this 2-lap race. Having broken the world record last season twice in less than week and enjoying an unbeaten season so far in the Grand Prix, Rudisha has been setting the pace for this in the last 1 year. After Usain Bolt, he’s athletics other easily recognisable and biggest name in the last 2 years. Kirwa might also sneak in for a silver.

1500m ( Gold & Bronze)

The race will most likely be between Silas Kiplagat and Asbel Kiprop. The latter has often gone against grain much to the coaches chagrin and thus lost races he would have easily won. But world supremacy is beckoning and what better stage than this to prove it. Kiprop for gold & Kiplagat for bronze.

3000m Steeplechase ( Gold, Silver & Bronze) Kenya’s preserve in major sporting functions, it will not about who will win but rather how they shall be placed. Sample this, two Olympic gold medallists and African winners as well as fastest time this season in the race? The bet is on Brimin Kipruto take the tape. Will Mateelong stop playing second fiddle to Kemboi & Kipruto? Let’s see…

5000m ( Silver)

This is where the Ethiopians have taken on us with a vengeance. With Kenenisa Bekele, it is noteworthy that he’s not coming back to get warmed up but to show he still has some gas left in those nifty heels. This is his easily his gold with his worthy opponent Eliud Kipchoge finally bowing out of World Championships with a silver. He will have to beat former champ & Kenyan born US athlete Bernard Lagat & Somali-origin GB’s athlete Mo Farah.

10000m ( Bronze)

This is another race that has eluded the Kenyans in the last 3 World C’ships and this time it is not any different. The Ethiopians shall either prop Kenenisa Bekele to his 2nd gold or Silesh Sihine will get his first gold ( remember he was second to Bekele in the 2007 c’ships…). Tadesse from Eritrea is also expected to chase the pack but on this one, he gets the silver.

Marathon ( Silver)

Having lost Kenya’s (and may arguably the best marathoner) in the form of Samuel Wanjiru earlier this year, the Kenyan brothers will need to dig deep to challenge for this. Abel Kirui who is the reigning champ might not have the same spikes like he did last time. Ethiopia’s G. Gebremariam is our main prospect for the gold. This is usually the last race of the championships .

4 x 400m( Bronze)

Hoping the team is not disqualified like they have been in major athletics events, this team will pull an upset and place 2nd or 3rd in this speciality. Riding on a succesful wave in the continental championships and Commonwealth Games last year and anchored by Mark Mutai, its about time our men emulated the 1972 Munich Games brothers ( which included David Rudisha’s dad Daniel Rudisha).

WOMEN

800m ( Gold )

Janeth Jepkosgei will be looking over her shoulder to beat Caster Semenya. With the absence of Pamela Jelimo was the phenomenon in 2008 again misses the World Championships due to injury. The battle is between Janeth & Caster both former winners of this race.

1500m ( Bronze)

This is a very modest prediction and yes we do love our sisters but Ethiopian-born Bahraini Maryam Yusuf Jamal looks to make it 3-out-of-3. Nancy Lagat might be on that podium but not for the gold.

3000m steeplechase (Gold & Bronze)

We thought the ladies run a shorter race in the Olympics and Commonwealth but there is the likelihood the ladies would love to emulate their brothers and come home with the prize. Milcah Chemos is looking all ready to conquer the world, let’s see who joins her on the podium.

5000m ( Silver)

Vivian Cheruiyot the reigning champ and having the world’s leading time will be trying to prove a point and give a run of the Ethiopian’s money. Meseret Defar and Genzebe Dibaba shall be chasing her down the tracks and one of them shall reign supreme.

10000m ( Bronze)

The Ethiopian threat shall be back again and Linet Masai shall be trying to get back her own but again we shall not be up to the pace of these ladies. Melkamu is itching for revenge and we shall see her in her best colours.

Marathon ( Bronze)

Another disappointing outing it will be and maybe just maybe we shall come back with a bronze. Wondering aloud where Catherine Ndereba is, we shall nominate Edna Kiplagat or Irene Kosgei.

In earnest we hope these predictions turn out NOT TO BE TRUE but then again it is just WISHES.

The added incentive for the athletes from the TDK and Toyota who are the main sponsors (among others) of these championships is that the winners and those placed 2nd to 8th shall be rewarded. The scheme is as follows;

Individuals:

a) Gold – US$ 60,000

b) Silver- US$ 30,000

c) Bronze – US$ 20,000

World Record breakers entitled to US$ 100,000

{4th-15,000; 5th-10,000; 6th-6000; 7th-5000; 8th-4,000}

Relays (Teams):

a) Gold – US$ 80,000

b) Silver – US$40,000

c) Bronze – US$ 20,000

{4th-16,000; 5th-12,000; 6th-8,000; 7th-6,000; 8th-4,000}

Marathon (Teams):

a) Gold – US$ 20,000

b) Silver – US$16,000

c) Bronze – US$ 12,000

{4th-10,000; 5th-8,000; 6th-6,000}

You can see more detailed previews of the Daegu Championships here and also follow the races live here . Or follow their Twitter handle @daegu2011org .