Kenyan Olympic champions prevail in trials

Three of the four Kenyan Olympic champions prevailed over their rivals in the last day of competition for the London Olympics at the Nyayo National stadium on Saturday.

The only exception was the women's 1,500 metres champion Nancy Jebet Lagat who decided to forgo the race won by the women's indoor 3,000m champion Helen Obiri. No explanation was given for Lagat's absence.

Asbel Kiprop (1500m), Brimin Kiplimo (3,000m steeplechase) and the women's 800m champion Pamela Jelimo prevailed in an action-packed day which saw several new faces announce their arrivals on the national stage.

They were joined by world champions David Rudisha, Ezekiel Kemboi and Vivian Cheruiyot.

Cheruiyot, the double world 5,000m and 10,000m champion in Daegu, won the women's 5,000m, finishing just ahead of Sally Kipyego to complete her dream of making a double representation in both distance races in London.

"I am capable of doubling up in London," Cheruiyot said.

"I hope I am going to do wonders. I know both Dibaba (defending champion in both 5,000m and 10,000m) and Defar (5,000m bronze medallist) of Ethiopia will be there but I am ready to face them again."

World youth 3,000m champion Isaiah Kiplangat Koech obliterated a strong field to win the men's 5,000m in an impressive time of 13:09.80, edging out Olympic bronze medallist Edwin Soi (13:11.11) and Thomas Longosiwa (13:11.28) to the tape.

Both the 800m specialists Rudisha and Jelimo enhanced their Olympic medal potential by dominating their respective races and winning by over 20 metres against their next challengers.

"The last three years were so bad for me. Many people had ruled me out. Now I have won the ticket to defend my title in London. I have to believe in myself," said Jelimo, who was competing in her first major athletics trials in four years.

The 22-year-old, who won the world indoors in Istanbul in March to announce her comeback after a long lay-off, has responded well after losing to the Ethiopian Diamond League 800m leader, Fantu Magiso in Rome in May.

Olympic and world 1,500m champion Kiprop left it late in his race but made up lost ground to finish third and take the last qualifying place behind world silver medallist Silas Kiplagat and Nixon Chepseba, the 2011 Diamond League winner, who was second.

"I was travelling a lot from behind and I had to wade through the traffic and find my way. There was a lot of jostling amongst us, but the main thing is to get to get into the team and defend my title that I was meant to win in Beijing," said Kiprop.

Kiplagat, who won the season-opening Diamond League meeting in Doha in May, executed very his race calculation when he pulled away from 400 metres out to win in 3:37.60.

"I made mistakes in Daegu when I remained behind the field in the final. I hope I will not repeat the same mistake in London," said Kiplagat, who is also the reigning Commonwealth 1,500m champion.

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