David Saruni, Kenya’s teenage prodigy, aims to win the country first gold in 400m hurdle at the Olympics.
The USA based rookie, made a false start in his first time representing Kenya at the World Under-17 Championships in Nairobi in 2017 when he was disqualified for lane infringement offense.
But he returned to his training base in Kentucky (USA) and immersed in training and not even the lockdown imposed by countries to curb COVID-19 spread has slowed him down.
Saruni has been primed as heir apparent to the late former world 400m hurdles champion Nicholas Bett and the 19-year-old computer science student said he is ready to pick up the gauntlet.
“It is my dream to represent Kenya at the Tokyo Olympics. The plan was to make it to Tokyo this year in August, but the health situation has forced a lockdown. However, 2021 is still a good year and I want to be in top form so that I may dominate the hurdles and be able to live the dream of my mentor Bett,” said Saruni on Tuesday.
With college athletics in USA closed, Saruni, like many other sportsmen, is forced to train on his own and he loves the challenge, though it is not optimum.
“Currently I am able to do some short runs, a lot of gym exercises and related stuff to keep me in good form. We will overcome this pandemic and return to competition. My focus is to keep improving,” added Saruni.
The Kenyan prodigy has also the capacity to oscillate through to 800m and 1,500m races. However, he sees his ideal race being in the hurdles.
Saruni is one of the top talents Kenya expects to parade in Nanjing, China during the rescheduled World Indoor Championships in 2021. The competition is to be held in March at the newly-built Nanjing Cube.
The teenage athletes missed out on the chance to make the Kenya team to the 2017 World Championships after he was dropped in a controversial way from the 800m team to London with coaches opting to pick Africa silver medalist Emmanuel Korir, Ferguson Rotich and David Rudisha, the Olympic champion.
His coach then, Paul Ereng, a former world 800m champion, said Saruni was to inherit Rudisha.
“There is a new sheriff in town. This boy is on fire. Saruni destroyed the 600m indoor world record in Albuquerque, New Mexico,” said Ereng.