August 25, 2009 / 3:23 PM / 10 years ago

Inexperience cost Kenya medals, says Bungei

Wilfred Bungei of Kenya runs on his way to winning the men's 800m final of the athletics competition in the National Stadium at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, August 23, 2008. REUTERS/Mike Blake

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Lack of experience cost Kenya medals in events they were tipped to dominate at the world championships, the country’s Olympic 800 metres champion Wilfred Bungei said.

Kenya finished third in the medal table, behind the United States and Jamaica, with a haul of four gold, five silvers and two bronze but Bungei said it could have been an even better return for the east African nation.

“The overall performance was good, but I think they should have done better,” Bungei, who was not selected for the Berlin event which ended on Sunday after missing the Kenyan trials through injury, told Reuters on Tuesday.

“Asbel Kiprop was a favourite in the 1,500m, but the decision to also run in the 800m made him lose concentration. He lost both.

“It was experience which carried (South Africa’s Mbulaeni) Mulaudzi to victory in the 800m, but which our team lacked,” he said. “This was also the case with the women’s marathon which we have dominated in the past, but in which none of our girls finished in the top 10.”

Catherine Ndereba, who won the global title in Helsinki in 2005 and Osaka two years ago, opted out of the team to Berlin.

Bungei said Kiprop and fellow 800m team member David Rudisha were typical victims of inexperience. Rudisha, who won the Kenyan trials and was tipped to get a medal, failed to reach the final.

“These are world championships, not Kenyan trials. Competitors train hard for them. Kiprop should have concentrated on one event and planned for it. By running two races, he probably did not know where to concentrate,” he said.

“Rudisha had not run at the global stage and certainly did not know how to handle pressure at that level.”

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