Saturday, July 13, 2013

No surprises as women qualify for Moscow

PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO Mercy Cherono and Viola Kibiwot race to the finish line in the 5000m race during the national trials at Nyayo National Stadium on July 13, 2013.

PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO Mercy Cherono and Viola Kibiwot race to the finish line in the 5000m race during the national trials at Nyayo National Stadium on July 13, 2013.  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By AYUMBA AYODI sayodi@ke.nationmedia.com

There were no major surprises in the women’s events as double Africa champion, Gladys Cherono, easily won the 10,000m race in the national trials for the World Championships.

World junior champion, Faith Chepng’etich, and former World junior 3,000m champion, Mercy Cherono, made strong entries into the senior fold with splendid shows in their 1,500m and 5,000m races respectively.

Eunice Sum stunned her mentor, the 2007 Osaka World Championships 800m  gold medallist, Janeth Jepkosgei, to second place in their two-lap race during the championships graced by deputy President, William Ruto.

Two-time World Steeplechase 3,000m bronze medallist, Milcah Chemos, was sublime in her specialty, making as she made her intentions obvious with the World Indoor 3,000m title-holder Helen Obiri won her 1,500m race.

The 29-year-old Gladys Cherono, who won the Africa 10,000m and 5,000m titles in Benin last year, tactically stayed behind the pack for the better part of the race. But came to the front briefly with two laps to go before tactically falling back only to surge ahead at the sound of the bell for victory in 33 minutes, 43.03 second.

Cherono, who is both the Kenya Defence Forces 10,000m and Cross Country champion, was quick to brush aside the challenge posed by their Ethiopian rivals, saying Kenya can retain both the 10,000m and 5,000m titles currently held by Vivian Cheruiyot, who is expecting her first child in October. Cheruiyot was at hand to hag the winners after watching them from the terraces.

Two-time World Cross Country champion, Emily Chebet, finished second in 33:43.78 as Japan-based Sally Kaptich Chepyego returned home third in 33:45.81 to wrap up the top-three places for the World Championships.

Even though Chebet, who finished 10th during the 2007 Worlds had not attained the qualifying mark of 31:45.00, still made the team by virtue of having won the senior women’s title at the World Cross Country Championships in March in Poland. Carolyne Cheptanui (33:52.34) failed to make the podium, coming ahead of the 2011 Daegu World Championships 10,000m bronze medallist, Linet Masai (34:10.02).

Race opened with three laps to go

Kaptich, Cheptanui and Chebet exchanged the leads with the athletes keeping other on toes before the race opened up with three laps to go. It’s in the last lap that Cherono successfully opted to break anbd go for victory.

“I am not worried about the Ethiopians and their pace. This will be a different ball game altogether with no pacesetters,” Cherono said. “The race was very slow at the start but picked up. I had hoped for a fast-paced event but nevertheless it’s good to win and I hope to finish in medal bracket in Moscow.”

After coming fifth at the 2011 Worlds in Daegu, before failing to secure a place in the 5,000m at the London Olympics,  Mercy Cherono said she was ready for the big stage with victory in 15:58.39, beating former two-time World cross country junior champion, Viola Jelagat Kibiwott (15:59.20) and the national cross country champion, Margaret Wangare (16:01.88). They all made the Moscow squad.

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