Former World 5,000m and 10,000m champion, Vivian Cheruiyot is ready to reclaim her status after earning a ticket to the World Championships.
Cheruiyot failed to defend her two crowns during the 2013 World Championships in Moscow after taking a maternity leave but will only attempt to recapture the 10,000m title in Beijing.
She predicted an explosive partnership with Betsy Saina, who finished second in the trails, saying they will strategise for the race well.
Cheruiyot, who comfortably stayed at the middle of the pack, waited until the last 200m to let her sprightly legs do the talking, winning in 32:58.4.
US-based Saina wound second in 32:59.2 as the duo claimed the two automatic qualifying places for the World Championships due august 22 to 30 in Beijing, China.
Commonwealth and Africa 10,000m champion, Joyce Chepkirui, who led in the early stage of the race with World Cross Country champion Agnes Jebet, settled third in 33:00.1. Jebet came in fifth in 33:14.9.
The 2012 London Olympics 10,000m silver medallist, Sally Kipyego and the 2009 World 10,000m champion Linet Masai fell off the race with five laps to go. Kipyego suffered muscle cramps.
“It was a tough race and winning the Kenyan trials is not easy but I am happy to be back. The world title is now on my mind and I promise to try my best to reclaim it even though the World Championships is a bit competitive,” said Cheruiyot adding that winning in Friday’s hot conditions was fine since she expects similar in Beijing.
Cheruiyot said he won’t double but explained that Kenya still has strong athletes in the 5,000m vanguard in the likes of World 5,000m silver medallist Mercy Cherono, Janet Kisa and Viola Kibiwott.
Saina will be donning the national colours for the first time and expects her partnership with Cheruiyot to earn the country medals at the Worlds.
“I knew the trials will be tough with all the top stars in the pack but I had prepared well in the USA and Iten,” Saina said. “We now have two more weeks to polish on our finishing speed.”
Five-time Africa 20km race walk champion Grace Wanjiru won her event in 1:39.53 but failed to qualify for the World Championships. She will now focus on the Africa Games alongside national champion Grace Thoita.