Nairobi, July 26 (IANS) In the absence of record holder David Rudisha, the Kenyan men's 800 metre team for the IAAF World Championships in Moscow is wrapping up a surprise package in its bid to retain the crown.
One team member aiming to etch his name in the history books at the event is little-known Ferguson Cheruiyot, who made the Kenyan squad after finishing second at the Moscow Trials July 13, reports Xinhua.
"We want to do it for Rudisha and show the world that even without him, Kenya still has the men capable of winning the world title," the youngster who started competing only last year said.
"He is the reason I started running 800m and I'm looking forward to speak to him and know how he did it.
"We will go there to fight for his honour and do our country proud especially now that many are not giving us a chance, we want to go there and shock everyone."
"Rudisha has been a role model to me and when I started training last July, I focused on the 800m to try and compete in the same team like him. It's sad he is injured and will miss Moscow, Cheruiyot added.
"We shall try all we can to bring back his gold medal back home since that responsibility rests with us," the runner said.
Cheruiyot tested his wits on the international circuit at the Monaco IAAF Diamond League July 19 but he left the track with a lot to ponder after trooping home to earn the wooden spoon with the clock reading 1:44.89.
"It was my second time in Europe and I'm grateful I went to Monaco. I would not have known what happens when you remain behind at the start and I learnt that if that happens, you cannot catch up with them.
"That is why I'm back here focused on improving my reaction at the start and how to stay ahead since I posses the speed," said the athlete who changed his first name owing to his love for the retired Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson who left Old Trafford last season after bagging 28 trophies for the reigning English Premier League champions.
Kenya head coach, Sammy Rono, is banking on the element of the unknown in his men's 800m line-up to cause an upset at the 14th edition of the biennial IAAF track and field showpiece that runs from Aug 10 to 18.
"It's a good thing we have a new line-up now. They are young and energetic and I will take them through video shows and discuss and agree with them and if they right us off, there are surprises there.
"This is not a Diamond League meeting, there are no pacemakers, it's a championship where every athlete will race alone, shocks have happened before, that is all what I can say for now."
Rudisha was ruled out for the season with a knee injury meaning he will not add a second world title to the Olympics crown he won in 1:40.91 world record time last year in London.