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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Michael Saruni favorite to win World
Indoor 800m gold in Birmingham   

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenyan runner Michael Saruni, 22, plans to represent the country at the upcoming World Indoor Championships in Birmingham in March.

Saruni, who was dropped in a controversial way from the 800m team to London last year in favor of upstart Emmanuel Korir, Ferguson Rotich, the former IAAF Diamond League winner and David Rudisha, the Olympic champion, has thrown down the gauntlet and is waiting for the result.

Last week, Saruni, who has been primed as the heir apparent to Rudisha, set a new world lead over the 600m distance in the United States. In 2017, his compatriot Emmanuel Korir set a world indoor 600m record, but Saruni showed his skills last week when he replicated the feat at the Martin Luther King Invitational in Albuquerque on Friday.

His coach Paul Ereng, a former World 800m champion, said on Monday that Saruni has the right focus to take over for Rudisha.

“There is a new sheriff in town. This boy is on fire. Saruni has destroyed the 600m indoor world record in Albuquerque, New Mexico,” said Ereng.

Saruni, who is a student at the University of Texas, ran a well-judged race, covering the first 200m lap in 24.2 before hitting the front just before the 400m mark, which was reached in 49.7.

With a final lap of 25.2 seconds, Saruni continued to effortlessly pull away from the rest of the field, stopping the clock at 1:14.79.

With the World Indoor championships coming in March 24 in Birmingham, Kenyan selectors will have no worries in bestowing the challenge to bring gold to Saruni, who can team up with Korir.

Kenya won two bronze medals at the last World Indoor Championships in 2016 in Cardiff, and Athletics Kenya officials expect the country to collect at least three golds this year.    Kenya is due to name its final team to the World Indoor Championships in February.

             

 

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