Bronze delights third time lucky Ferguson Rotich
Keith McGhie in Doha
Ferguson Rotich is delighted at being ‘third time lucky’ after finally coming away from a major championship with a long sought after medal.
In the penultimate race on Tuesday night in Doha, Qatar, the 29-year-old claimed bronze—his country’s fourth medal of the week (two gold and one bronze previously)—in a frantic 800m final which could easily have ended with him limping out on the first lap.
Rotich had twice previously been in the mix for a medal at a global championships, finishing fourth at the 2015 Worlds in Beijing before coming home fifth at the Rio de Janiero Olympics the following year.
And his chances of ending that drought seemed to be disappearing when Puerto Rico’s Wesley Vazquez sped away at the gun and, chased by eventual winner Donavan Brazier, opened up a significant gap on the rest of the eight-man field, with Rotich trailing near the back.
But as Vazquez tired and Brazier came past to take gold in a championship record one minute, 42.34 seconds, Rotich bravely fought his way forward to move into third place halfway down the home straight and finish behind Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Amel Tuka in a time of 1:43.82.
“I thank God that this time I am coming away with a medal, said Kenya’s only finalist. Just after the start, I felt pain in my leg so I didn’t go off too quick but by the second lap, it was getting better so I chased with all my strength,” said Rotich.
He added: “It is a great achievement, a great plus in my career. My aim was to get into the top three so I cannot be too disappointed. I need to thank my family, Athletics Kenya and my coach for this. I will be training full force now in the hope that I can do as well or better—maybe one or two—in the Olympics next year.”