Paris Olympics: Beatrice Chebet is Kenya’s lethal weapon over 10,000m

Beatrice Chebet

Beatrice Chebet poses for pictures after winning the women's 10,000m in a world record time of 28:54.14 during the 49th Pre Classic at Hayward Field.

Photo credit: Reuters

Kenya has dominated world long distance running for eons but victory in one race remains elusive: the women’s 10,000 metres.

The country has never won gold over women’s 10,00m at the Olympic Games, and there will be greater scrutiny on the team at the 2024 Paris Olympics late this month.

The question on many lips now is whether Kenya will break the medal drought that has persisted since the women’s 10,000m was introduced to the Olympic Games in 1988.

The Kenyan women’s 10,000m team of Beatrice Chebet, Lilian Kasait and Margaret Chelimo looks formidable enough to challenge for podium places.

The most likely bet for Kenya is Chebet, twice World Cross Country champion. She broke the 10,000m world record with a time of 28:54.14 set at the 2024 Prefontaine Classic on 25 May, becoming the first woman in history run under 29 minutes over the distance.

Speaking to Nation Sport on July 6,2024, former multiple world champion Vivian Cheruiyot, who won 10,000m bronze at the 2012 London Games and 10,000m silver at the 2016 Rio Games, said the Kenyan women’s squad looked very strong.

Lethal weapon

She singled out Chebet saying the world record holder was the obvious lethal weapon for Kenya.

“We are likely to get a gold medal and I can put it at 95 per cent because we have seen how Chebet is running.

“With the right conditions and if she gets into the race in the good shape she has been this season, I believe we are going to witness the first gold medal win for Kenya,” said Cheruiyot.

Chelimo, who won the 2022 World bronze medal in women’s 10,000m said she was confident of finishing top three.

“The team is strong and I must admit that competition shall be stiff when we head to Paris. But we have been training hard under our coaches and know what we need to do,” said Chelimo.

She said she was happy with how her season had turned out thus far and she was in the best possible shape of her life.

She represented Kenya at the World Cross Country Championships in Belgrade, Serbia in March winning a bronze medal.

“As an athlete, competing in a cross country event gives me the much needed endurance to compete on track and I trust that with the good training I have had I am in top shape,” she warned any would be rival. Certainly, that gold in Paris looks possible.

The first medals Kenya bagged in Olympics women’s 10,000m was silver via Sally Kipyego and bronze from Cheruiyot at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

The race was won by Ethiopia’s Tirunesh Dibaba as she retained the title.

Kenya didn’t medal at the 2020 Olympic Games with Sifan Hassan from Netherlands bagging gold, Bahraini Kalkidan Gezahegne winning silver and Letesenbet Gidey from Ethiopia settling for bronze.