Fresh from winning the Commonwealth Games title, Mercy Cherono will be gunning for a brace as she leads compatriots Janet Kisa and Margaret Wangare in women’s 5,000m final Monday.
Cherono and company have a tough task of upholding Gladys Cherono’s feat from the 2012 Championships in Port Novo, Benin where she swept to victory in both women’s 5,000m and 10,000m finals.
Mercy’s namesake led Veronica Nyaruai in staging a 1-2 show in Benin and the Kenyans believe a better show is in the offing.
Cherono said despite the hiccups in their travelling arrangements from Glasgow to Marrakech, she is determined to win her second major championships as a senior.
Cherono, who is the World 5,000m silver medallist and a two-time World junior 3,000m champion, lived up to her promise when she waded through the wet red track at the Hampden Park to win in women’s 5,000m gold in 15:07.21.
Kisa clocked 15:08.90 for silver as Briton Jo Pavey denied Wangare bronze after sneaking in third in 15:08.96. Wangare settled for fourth in a season’s best 15:10.38.
The Kenyan could have controlled the proceedings in Glasgow but that is left to be known with stiff challenge expected from their Ethiopian rivals.
The 2008 and 2010 World Junior 3,000m champion Cherono, went into Glasgow in tip top form after winning two Diamond League events in New York and Lausanne. She is confident of a double in Morocco.
“I am pleased with my steady progress. I want to finish off with Morocco, make the Africa team for the World Cup then focus on the World Championships next year,” said Cherono, who won the World Junior Cross title in 2010 after silver in 2009.
Wangare, who won bronze in 1,500m in Port Novo, said she is determined to make a good impression after a disappointing World Championships last year and missing the medal bracket in Glasgow.
“I am hoping for a better calculation this time around since I know the field will be richer than Glasgow with the Ethiopians’ presence,” said Wangare, the 2012 Africa Cross Country silver medallist. “It’s my desire to win my first major and I am hoping for God’s blessings in this.”
The Kenyans main challenge will come from Ethiopian Gezebe Dibaba, who is having a great season, after setting World Indoor records in 1,500m and 3,000m before winning two Diamond League races in Rome and Monaco.
She set the two records within a week, timing 3:55.17 at Karlsruhe, Germany in 1,500m on February 1 before going for the 3,000m record of 8:16.60 on February 6 in Stockholm, Sweden.
She ran an indoor two miles world best time of 9:00.48 on February 15.
She would snatch the World Indoor 3,000m title from Kenya’s Hellen Obiri, gliding to victory in Sopot, Poland in March before striking a personal best and world lead time of 14:28.88 in Monaco on July 18.
FRESH FROM WINNING
The women’s 5,000m final will be raced at 11.10pm but not before women’s long jump (12pm), men’s 800m semi-finals (8.25pm) and men’s long jump final (10.45pm).
The women’s 1,500m first round focus will be on Faith Chepng’etich, who is fresh from winning her first major as a senior at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
With the 2011 World Youth and 2012 World Junior 1,500m in her custody, the 20-year-old clocked 4 minutes 08.94 seconds for her maiden major as a senior at the Hampden Park red track. Also featuring in the first round are Obiri and Selah Jepleting.
Chepng’etich was firm that her work isn’t done yet as they proceed to Morocco.
“I hope our plan will work out this time around since that will be a different game ball with everyone hoping to make Africa’s World Cup team,” said Chepng’etch, the 2011 and 2013 World Cross junior champion.
“I just thank God for guiding me to where I have reached and there is more to come from me as I focused on the 2016 Rio Olympics,” said the student from Winners Girls Secondary School.
Kenya’s sole representative in women’s long jump Grace Musyoki hopes to do well and make the final after she failed to go past the group qualification at the Commonwealth Games.