Athletics: Strong Kenya team arrives at Games
LONDON (Reuters) - Kenya's athletics team, boasting three Olympic and four world champions, promised to live up to the high expectations their recent performances have elicited when they arrived in London on Tuesday morning.
The East African nation enjoyed their best ever showing at an Olympics four years ago in Beijing and their 16 medals - six of them gold - all came on the track at the Bird's Nest stadium.
Expectations are high that this year's team, captained by world 800m champion and record holder David Rudisha, can match or even better that tally in London.
"I know the amount of pressure we are facing, but we are ready for it because we do better when under pressure. It motivates us to run faster," Rudisha told Reuters at the Olympic village in Stratford.
"I want to lead from the front, that is as team captain, world champion and world record holder. And as you know, I always run from the front. Things haven't changed pretty much," the 24-year-old Rudisha said.
The team also boasts Pamela Jelimo (800m), Brimin Kipruto (3,000m steeplechase) and Asbel Kiprop (1,500m), all gold medalists in their events at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
Other world champions who arrived today are Vivian Cheruiyot (5,000m and 10,000m), Ezekiel Kemboi (3,000m steeplechase) and Edna Kiplagat (marathon).
There are also a sprinkling of top performers like Silas Kiplagat and Priscah Jeptoo, runners up in 1,500m and marathon respectively at the last world championships in Daegu, as well as Mary Keitany, the winner of the 2011 and 2012 London Marathons.
The team rejected plans by Kenyan Olympic chiefs to train in Bristol in the west of England, arguing they needed to train at altitude as long as possible before the Games start.
Six male athletes, three men marathoners and men's 5,000m runners, remain in Kenya awaiting to travel to London when their events approach.
The marathon team, comprising London Marathon champion William Kipsang, twice world champion Abel Kirui and Emmanuel Mutai, are training in the highlands of Iten, some 400 kilometers north west of capital Nairobi, while the 5,000m team are in the capital.
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