NAIROBI, (Xinhua) --
Kenya’s Emmanuel Korir performance in London has
left many fans dreaming of how fast he can run, but the
23-year-old says this week’s African Championships in Asaba,
Nigeria, will be a major test.
The Kenyan excelled
at the London Diamond League a week ago clocking a time of
1:42:05 in the men’s 800m, which stands out as the fastest in
the world since 2012 and puts him sixth on the world all-time
list, a front-running exhibition reminiscent of David Rudisha’s
world record, Olympic gold medal-winning run on the same track
five years earlier.
“I accosted Nijel
Amos to see if he could run at the front to maybe like 600
meters, but he was telling me that he wasn’t feeling good,”
Amos had run 1:42:14
in Monaco in early July. “So I had to take a risk. I was feeling
like maybe I could lose the race, but I thought, ‘no, let’s try
it: I’m going to hold it’. And that is how it happened.”
Now his focus is on
the Africa championships, which starts on Wednesday in Asaba,
Nigeria. “Heats, semis and finals, it will not be easy,” says
Korir, pondering a rematch with Botswana’s Nijel Amos. “1:42 is
not satisfying. If I get some guys who are strong and can push
me all the way to the finish line, it will be crazy.” Korir won
the Kenyan title at the 400m distance.
Korir built a
reputation on the U.S. collegiate circuit, where he went on an
unbeaten run that lasted a year and included a world indoor best
of 1:14:47 over 600m, and indoor and outdoor NCAA titles. That
streak didn’t stop away from U.S. shores.
First he won the
Kenyan trials, beating the likes of 2016 IAAF Diamond League
champion Ferguson Rotich, to confirm his spot at the World
Championships. Then, on his IAAF Diamond League debut, he
destroyed a world-class field by more than a second in Monaco
sizzling to a 1:43.10, the fastest time of 2017.
But the rounds in
London proved to be too difficult. Although he won his heat, in
the next day’s semis he came in fourth.
season and World Championships campaign were wrecked. Talking
from massage table 11 months on from that ignominy, his feelings
couldn’t be more different. “Last year, when I was in London, I
was so disappointed. But right now? I think I like it,” Korir