Kenya will on Friday move up to second place on the medals table when Vivian Cheruiyot adds the 5,000 metres gold to the one she won in the 10,000m race on the opening day of the 13th IAAF World Championships in Athletics on Saturday.
The women’s 5,000m final will be run at 2.25pm Kenyan time and the Kenya Police “pocket rocket” will fire away early from the pack, with support from team mates Linet Masai, Sylvia Kibet and Mercy Cherono.
The Kenyans will burn out Ethiopia’s perennial challenger, Meseret Defar, and then consolidate their gains by providing cover for Cheruiyot’s final burst of speed to the tape.
Cheruiyot’s gold will bring the gold count to five after Ezekiel Kemboi blasted away with 150 metres to go to clinch Kenya’s fourth gold in the 3,000m steeplechase on Thursday.
It may be a long shot, but don’t rule out a medal – of any colour – in the men’s 4x400m relay when the quartet of Vincent Kiplangat Koskei, Anderson Mureta, Vincent Mumo and Mark Mutai line up at 3.25pm Kenyan time.
Kenya’s chances in the women’s 1,500m came tumbling down, quite literally, when lone ranger Hellen Obiri was tripped and fell 90 metres to the bell in a race won by surprised American Jennifer Barringer Simpson in four minutes 5.40 seconds.
Briton Hannah England (4:05.68) took silver and Spaniard Natalia Rodriguez (4:05.87) bronze.
“I have no regrets. It’s unfortunate I was tripped but this has been a learning experience for me,” the Kenya Defence Forces runner said.
Morale is sky-high in the Kenyan camp here after Kemboi defended the world title he won in Berlin two years ago, delivering an amazing burst with 150 metres to go as he approached the final water jump, catching his rivals by surprise.
South Africa’s Ruben Ramolefi had led the pack through 1,000m in 2:47.63 with Uganda’s Jacob Araptany pacing through the 2,000m mark in 5:33.42.
Kemboi eventually won in 8:14.85 with Brimin Kipruto (8:16.05) second and Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad (8:16.09) third.
The emotion-filled Kenyan repeat world champion became an instant darling of the crowd with his post-race celebrations, a cocktail of dances and gestures he dedicated to the friendly people of South Korea.
“I now have three silvers and two gold medals from the World Championships. My aim is to win another gold medal at the next championships in Moscow to make it three gold and three silver,” Kemboi said.
They are very strong
Mekhissi-Benabbad was graceful in defeat. “I’m happy with the bronze medal. I’d like to congratulate Kemboi and Brimin. They are very strong.”
Kipruto, the Beijing Olympic champion, said he was comfortable with his silver: “I’m happy with the silver. The pace was slow but championships can even be won with 8:30 so I’m happy for the people of Kenya.”
The French athletics federation lodged a protest, claiming Kipruto stepped into Mekhissi-Benabbad’s lane, therefore obstructing him, but it was dismissed by the IAAF jury of appeal.
Kenya’s gold medallists so far are Kemboi (steeplechase), David Rudisha (800m), Cheruiyot (10,000m) and Edna Kiplagat (marathon).
Silvers have been delivered by Kipruto (steeplechase), Priscah Jeptoo (marathon) and Sally Kipyego (800m).
The three bronze medals were hauled in by Sharon Cherop (marathon) Linet Masai (10,000m) and Milcah Chemos (women’s steeplechase).