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Cheruiyot targets rare double at Daegu Worlds

Thursday August 4 2011

Vivian Cheruiyot celebrates after winning the women’s 5,000m of the Paris IAAF Diamond League last year. Photo/AFP

Vivian Cheruiyot celebrates after winning the women’s 5,000m of the Paris IAAF Diamond League last year. Photo/AFP 

By JONATHAN KOMEN [email protected]

World champion Vivian Cheruiyot wants to make history winning a rare double in 5,000m and 10,000m at the IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Daegu, South Korea, next month.

Cheruiyot, who won the DN Galan Samsung Diamond League meeting in Stockholm last Friday in a national and world season-leading 14:20.87 time, is keen to carry on with her spectacular wins at the Worlds.

The 28-year-old, who has produced unrivalled shows over the twelve-lap race, will battle for honours in the two-lap race alongside Ethiopian rivals.

Ethiopia, however, will miss the Africa Senior 10,000m champion Tirunesh Dibaba when they line up at the South Korean city.

But Cheruiyot sees no impact Dibaba’s presence could have in the competition.

The soft-spoken and diminutive runner said: “Whether or not they parade Dibaba will not stop my ambitions. I even prefer that she runs so as to raise the level of competition. Let her come and we will square it out.”

She added: “I will fight for the title with or without her.”

Excelled in distance running

She has bagged the biggest prize in the world distance running – gold medals in Commonwealth Games, African Championships, World Championships and the Inter-Continental Cup. 

Also in contention for medals in the 5,000m race will be Ethiopians Meseret Defar, Sentayehu Eligu and former world junior cross-country champion Genzebe Dibaba. The 10,000m contest will have Ethiopian veterans Shalane Flanagan and Kara Goucher.

Cheruiyot is keen to use the global athletics showpiece as a launching pad to her quest for glory at next year’s London Olympics.

“I will fight for gold in 5,000m and 10,000m and return to the drawing board for the Olympics. My main target is to make history by winning gold in the two events at the World Championships and I am ready for the task,” said Cheruiyot, who made the national team in 1998 while a pupil at Chemwabul Primary School in Keiyo South.

Cheruiyot still trains in Eldoret and says she will link up with the team in camp at Moi Sports Centre, Kasarani, soon.

“I like training in Eldoret and I do not catch up easily in new areas. I do both the morning run and evening sessions here,” she said.

Capable of breaking record

The talented runner longs to break the 5,000m world record next season.

“I am capable of breaking the record in the distance but I need the medals first. When I ran 14:20.87 in poor weather with slow pacesetters in Stockholm, I realised I can make it,” said Cheruiyot, an alumnus of athletics-rich Sing’ore Girls in Keiyo.

Sammy Rono, Kenya’s assistant coach to the global championships, said the camp at Moi International Sports Centre,Kasarani, was almost a full-house on Thursday.

“Training is going on well. We have not had cases of injuries and the athletes are adapting well to the training programme,” said Rono, who was Kenya’s assistant coach at the Berlin World Championships.

The global track stars will be in action today and tomorrow at the 12th Diamond League in London.

Rono, a coach based at PACE Sports Management in Kaptagat, said the Daegu squad was in top form and was responding well to the residential training programmes.

“The line-up is almost similar to the one we had for Berlin. For instance, Paul Kipsiele Koech is the only one out of the team. A few athletes like Milkah Chemos, Lydia Rotich (both 3,000m steeplechase), Mercy Njoroge and David Rudisha (800m) are out of the country,” said Rono, a former army officer.

Rono decried the poor weather conditions in the city.