Kenyans eyeing to extend dominance in 800m at the olympics

The men’s 800m is expected to produce fireworks at the Tokyo Olympics with the Kenyan team ready and up to the task to hunt for glory.

Michael Saruni, Emmanuel Korir and Ferguson Rotich have been tasked with continuing Kenya’s dominance in the two-lap race at the Olympics that extends for over two decades.

US-based Michael Saruni said he is ready to carry the Kenyan flag as he makes his debut at the Games.

“For me I am so excited to be at the Olympics, this is the biggest sporting event. I know that we have been dominating the 800m race with Bungei to Rudisha and we hope to continue this tradition in Tokyo,” says Saruni.

As Kenya enters the post-Rudisha era, Korir who also trains in the US alongside Saruni said they will approach the Games just like any other competition while also backing the team to sweep the podium.

“Actually, I don’t feel any pressure since we will be coming up against athletes we have been facing before. It is only the stage that might have changed. I think we have a very good team which is capable of sweeping the podium but it will be very competitive with the likes of (Nigel) Amos also in the mix,” said Korir.

With the world champion Donovan Brazier out of the Olympics, Korir said he is wary of Botswana’s Nigel Amos who recovered from an injury on time for the Games.

Rotich, the world bronze medallist, will be returning to the Olympic stage after placing fifth at the Rio Games in 2016.

“I hope to get to the podium this time. I believe we have a very strong team that can bring medals home. We hope all of us will make it past the heats and semis and hopefully we will meet at the finals and try to be at the podium,” Korir said.

The men’s 800m heats will be held on Saturday, July 31 with the finals slated for August 4.