Quartet of former UTEP national champions compete at USATF Golden Games


WALNUT, CALIFORNIA (KTSM) – A quartet of former UTEP national champions all competed at the USA Track and Field Golden Games on Sunday in California.

Tobi Amusan, Emmanuel Korir, Anthony Rotich and Michael Saruni all harbor high hopes of qualifying for the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo, and are in the process of tuning up for the Games.

The Golden Games featured a great test for all four athletes to see where they stand a little more than two months out from the Olympics.

Korir started the day for UTEP in the men’s 400 meters. The 2017 NCAA Indoor and Outdoor national champion in the 800 meters, Korir finished fourth on Sunday in California in 45.29 seconds, less than a second behind winner Michael Norman. Korir will look to represent Kenya in Tokyo.

Korir’s Kenyan countryman, Michael Saruni, had the best showing of the day of any of UTEP’s former track stars in the men’s 800 meters. Utilizing his trademark kick down the back stretch, the 2018 NCAA Indoor national champion in the half-mile nearly tracked down Bryce Hoppel in the final meters.

Saruni couldn’t quite make up the ground completely, though, finishing second behind Hoppel in 1:45.18. A star in the 800 who won only one national title at UTEP due to a series of mishaps, Saruni could make waves in Tokyo.

In the women’s 100m hurdles, Nigeria native Tobi Amusan clocked in a run of 12.61 seconds, good for third place on the day. The 2017 100m hurdles NCAA champion, Amusan also qualified for the semifinals of the event at the 2016 Olympic Games.

Anthony Rotich rounded out the quartet of UTEP runners in action on Sunday in the men’s 3000m steeplechase, finishing in 12th. Rotich was a three-time NCAA champion in that event (2013-2015) while at UTEP, and also won the 2014 1600M Indoor title. Rotich will look to qualify for Team USA in the steeplechase in June.

The 2021 Tokyo Olympics begin July 23 and can be seen on KTSM.

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