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Record-breaker Cherono eyes World and Olympic titles

Friday May 2 2014

PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO Mercy Cherono in action during Athletics Kenya Sprints and Relays 4-by-1500m finals on April 26, 2014.

PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO Mercy Cherono in action during Athletics Kenya Sprints and Relays 4-by-1500m finals on April 26, 2014.  NATION MEDIA GROUP

AYUMBA AYODI
By AYUMBA AYODI
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With the likes of Ethiopian Meseret Defar, 30, starting to fade, Kenya’s World 5,000m silver medallist Mercy Cherono is now positioning herself to take over the reign in the long distance track event.

Cherono, 22, who led her to a World record breaking time in women’s 4x 1,500m race last weekend, is targeting three major coveted feats in the next three years.

Cherono, who won the World Junior 3,000m title in 2008 before defending it in 2010, said she wants to break the 5,000m World Record in addition to winning both the World and Olympic titles.

“That is my dream and I am working towards it,” said Cherono.

Ethiopian great Tirunesh Dibaba holds the 5,000m World Record time of 14:11.15 set June 6, 2008 at the Bislett Games, Oslo, Norway while Defar holds both the World and Olympic titles.

ETHIOPIANS' DOMINANCE

Defar’s progression in 5,000m has been inspiring, winning silver at the 2005 Helsinki Worlds before going for gold at the 2007 Osaka. She would then claim bronze at 2009 Berlin and 2011 Daegu respectively before reclaiming her title at the 2013 Worlds perhaps her last over the distance.

Defar won gold in 5,000m at the 2004 Athens Olympics then bronze at the 2008 Beijing Olympics before reclaiming her title at the 2012 London Olympics.

Dibaba won gold in 5,000m at the 2003 Paris and 2005 Helsinki Worlds and Olympic gold in 5,000m at the 2008 Beijing Games.  She completed doubles 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2005 Helsinki Worlds.

“Defar and Dibaba’s reign is over with Dibaba moving to marathon,” said Cherono, who boast of personal best 14:35.13 in 5,000m from Paris Saint-Denis on July 8, 2011. “I just want to improve on my personal best this year and perhaps train well and down the World Record.”

Cherono, who also won the 2010 World Junior Cross title, anchored her team of  Irene Jelagat, Ann Karindi and Perin Nenkampi to a new World Record time of 17 minutes 05. 72 seconds on Saturday.

Interestingly, the record fell only 22 days after another group of Kenyans broke the six-year standing record of 17:08.34 from the University of Tennesses.

World 800m champion Eunice Sum, World 1,500m bronze medallist Hellen Obiri, Anne Karindi and Margaret Chelimo clocked 17:08.17 on April 5 during the last leg of Athletics Kenya Series at Kasarani.

"I saw it coming and I can predict that we shall break the record again come the World Relays," said Cherono. The Worlds Relays are due May 24 to 25 in Nassau, Bahamas.

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