David Rudisha ensures Olympic spot

Updated: June 23, 2012, 1:58 PM ET
Associated Press

NAIROBI, Kenya -- World 800-meter champion and record holder David Rudisha clinched a spot on Kenya's Olympic team by winning the final at the national trials Saturday.

Reigning 1,500 Olympic gold medalist Asbel Kiprop had to dig deep to make the London Games.

Rudisha, dominant all season, led from the start to finish in 1 minute, 42.12 seconds at Nyayo National Stadium and earn a trip to his first Olympics. Timothy Kitum and Anthony Chemut also secured spots.

"Nothing is easy. ... I have been working hard and that is why it looks easy when I ran," Rudisha said.

The first three in each event qualified for next month's London Games.

Kiprop, who was awarded gold in Beijing after winner Rashid Ramzi was stripped of his title, finished third in the 1,500 to sneak onto the team behind Silas Kiplagat and Nixon Chepseba. Kiplagat, the 2011 world silver medalist, won in 3:37.60.

Women's 5,000 and 10,000 world champion Vivian Cheruiyot won the 5,000. She had already qualified to run in the longer distance at the 10,000 trials last week.

The 2009 world champion in the 10,000, Linet Masai, failed to qualify in the 5,000. She also failed to qualify in the 10,000 on June 14 in Nairobi, where Cheruiyot, Joyce Chepkurui and Sally Kipyego finished 1-2-3.

Pamela Jelimo will get to defend her Olympic title in the 800 after overpowering the field in the women's final to finish in 1:58.48. Winnie Chebet and Janeth Jepkosgei, the 2008 Olympic silver medalist, will join Jelimo.

"I feel I am in shape, but I don't want to be overconfident. I just want to train hard," said Jelimo, who will likely take on former world champion Caster Semenya of South Africa and current titleholder Mariya Savinova of Russia in a competitive women's field.

Rudisha will now chase the one major achievement missing from his impressive record when he lines up as the heavy favorite in the 800 in London. He set a world-leading time of 1:41.74 at the New York Diamond League meet last month.

Colm O'Connell, Rudisha's coach, said the 800 was the runner's priority in London, but he also was hoping to run in the 4x400 relay should Kenya qualify.

Rudisha's father, Daniel, won silver at the 1968 Olympics on Kenya's 4x400 team.


Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press