Former double world champion Vivian Cheruiyot made a comeback to big time competition with a bang on Saturday winning the women 10,000m during the national trials at Kasarani stadium.
The trials also saw a new Kenya high jump record set. Mathew Sawe cleared 2.25m to erase old mark of 2.24m was held by the late Jacob Katonon since July 1992.
Cheruiyot won in 32:58.4, America-based nursing student Betsy Saina was second in 32:59.2 and Joyce Chepkurui was third in 33:00.1.
Behind the top three were Gladys Chesir 33:00.9, Agnes Tirop 33:14.9 and Rebecca Chesir 33:16.2. All the finishers were within the All Africa Games qualifying mark of 35:20.0. A team to the continental championships is also being selected during the trials that end on Saturday.
“It was really a tough race. I am very happy to have made the team because my colleagues were very strong”, Cheruiyot who won gold in both 5,000m and 10,000m in Daegu World Championships in 2011 said. She is coming back from a two-year maternity break.
The race started a bit slow but nursing student Saina changed the pace when she took the lead with 12 laps remaining and pushed hard for one lap before Chepkurui, who did most of the pacing in the initial stage of the race cruised to the front again.
Out of the 20 starters, only nine finished. Among those who fell by the wayside were big names like Sally Kipyego, two time world cross champion Emily Chebet, Linet Masai and Veronica Nyaruai. Cheruiyot moved to third position with three laps remaining and made a decisice surged with 200m to go.
World 800m record-holder and Olympic champion, David Rudisha looks the man to beat in Saturday’s final after easing to victory in the second heat of the race.
His winning time of 1:44.2 was the fastest of the two heats, the only race of the two day programme to go through heats. Behind Rudisha was Job Kinyor 1:44.6 and Olympic bronze medalist Timothy Kitum 1:45.0 was third.