•Naomi Korir credits their silver medal win at the World Relay Championships in Silesia, Poland to the vast international experience of Ferguson Rotich
•Korir says Rotich had vowed to battle for a medal until the last second and so was motivated by his determination
•The 800m specialist hopes to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics
World Relay Championships 2x2x400m silver medalist Naomi Korir attributes their silver medal win in Silesia, Poland to partner Ferguson Rotich's experience at the highest levels of international competition.
Korir says her pairing with the world 800m bronze medalist was enough conviction they were due up for a medal and thus motivated her to give her best performance.
"I was lucky to be running with him and I was hoping for the best since he is far more experienced in international events.
"That is why I was not worried when I was paired with him. Before the race, he told me he would fight until the end for a medal. That's why I had to maintain a fighting spirit to ensure our success," Korir said.
The duo produced Kenya's first medal in 2x2x400m in the championships, clocking 3:41.79 to finish second behind Poland ( 3:40.92) and ahead of Slovenia (3:41.95).
After a slow performance in the penultimate lap — in which Korir was overtaken by Slovenia's Anita Horvat — Rotich produced a top performance in the last lap to overtake Slovenian Zan Rudolf and push eventual winner Patryk Dobek to the finish line.
Korir is among the youngest members of the 36-athlete Kenyan team to the championships and was debuting in the relays after specialising in the 800m for most of her career. Indeed, she was surprised at their podium finish.
"Yes, it was a big surprise. I felt honoured by the fact that I was selected among the senior athletes. I had promised myself to fight to prove that I deserved a place on the team. However, I never thought a medal could come so early in my career but God's time is the best," she said.
The 800m specialist has now set sights on a place at the Tokyo Olympics and hopes to make the qualifying time for the race.
Her debut experience in the relays has provided her with enough lessons on what she needs to improve to soar in her athletics career.
"Relay is a tactical race unlike the 800m because it has a lot of lactic since recovery time is less than 50 minutes. It is my prayer to be among the team selected to Tokyo that is why I am now working on meeting the qualifying time. Right now, I am going back to discuss with my coach (Henry Lebo) on where the corrections have to be made specifically," she said.