800m star Abubaker Kaki among athletes at Antrim pre-games camp

By John HaugheyBBC Sport NI
Abubaker Kaki
Abubaker Kaki

Sudan's Abubaker Kaki is the biggest name among the group of world-class track and field performers who will be based in Antrim for a pre-Olympic Games training camp.

Kaki burst onto the international stage as an 18-year-old in 2008 when he became the youngest World Indoor 800m champion and also ran a world junior record of 1:42.69.

The Sudanese runner improved his personal best to 1:42:23 in 2010 which puts him sixth on the all-time list for the two-lap event.

After failing to get to the 800m final at the Beijing Olympics and falling in the World Championship semi-finals 12 months later, Kaki clinched his first global outdoor medal when finishing second behind Kenyan star David Rudisha at last year's World Championships in Daegu.

World record holder Rudisha will be a strong favourite in London but Kaki will be disappointed if he leaves the English capital without a medal.

Another World Junior gold medallist who will train at the Antrim Forum over the next three weeks is Qatar's Hamza Driouch.

The Moroccan-born 17-year-old was a hugely impressive 1500m winner at last week's World Junior Championships in Barcelona and already has a personal best of 3:33.69 for the metric mile.

Like Kaki and Driouch, Djboutian Ayanteh Soulieman is guided by renowned coach Jama Aden who has already arrived in Antrim with a number of his athletes.

Both Driouch and Soulieman are scheduled to run in the 1500m at Wednesday evening's Brian Downing Memorial meeting.

Soulieman ran his personal best of 3:30.31 in Hengelo in May and finished fifth at this year's World Indoor Championships in Istanbul.

Driouch will be joined at the Antrim training camp by his Qatari team-mate Musaeb Balla who has an 800m personal best of 1:45.19.

An Oman contingent includes 400m runner Ahmed Almirjabi and sprinter Barakat Alharathi while Egyptian 1:44.98 800m runner Hamada Mohamed will also train at Antrim.

Big name Kaki will arrive in Antrim after competing in Friday's Diamond League meeting in Monaco.