Ferguson Rotich carries Kenya’s medal hopes in men’s 800 metres final of the 2019 World Athletics Championships that gets underway from 10.10pm on Tuesday in Doha.
Rotich, who is the only Kenyan to have qualified from Sunday’s semi-finals, will be tasked with reclaiming the title last won by Olympics champion and world record holder David Rudisha at the 2015 edition of the Games held in Beijing.
Rotich qualified for the final after finishing second in his semi-final heat in a time of one minute, 44.20 seconds on Sunday behind winner Wesley Vazquez (1:43.96) from Puerto Rico.
After Sunday’s semi-final, Rotich singled out front-running Wesley Vazquez from Puerto Rico and Qatar's Abubaker Abdalla as the men to watch out for in the final on Tuesday.
And Rotich, who is competing in his fourth championship, is aware of the huge task on his shoulders in the final.
“I know I am the only Kenyan in the final but this will be my fourth championship and so I am up to the task ahead. I know most of my opponents from the Diamond League series and hopefully, that should make a difference,” Rotich said on Monday.
On Sunday after qualifying for the final, Rotich observed that championship races require a different strategy, adding that he is not worried by the fact that he is the only Kenyan in today’s final because he has faced similar circumstances in Diamond League races where he was the only Kenyan in the field.
Rotich, who won the national trials last month at Nyayo National Stadium in a time of one minute, 42.54 seconds, comes up against 2015 bronze medallist Amel Tuka from Bosnia who timed 1:45.63 to win the third semi-final heat, American Donavan Brazier who timed 1:44.87 in his semi-final heat and Canada's Marco Arop (1:45.07).
Kenya's other athletes in the two-lap race, Ngeno Kipngetich and Emmanuel Korir, did not qualify for the final. Korir, who finished second in the national trials, timed 1:45.19 on Sunday to finish third in the second heat won by America's Donavan Brazier (1:44.87).
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