What you need to know:
- Cheruiyot said that Kenya is in a better position to win medals through the combination of the world silver medalist Beatrice Chebet and the double world record holder Faith Kipyegon.
Former 5,000 metres Olympics champion Vivian Cheruiyot has tipped Kenyan athletes to win the world 5,000m title in the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary next month.
Cheruiyot said that Kenya is in a better position to win medals through the combination of the world silver medalist Beatrice Chebet and the double world record holder Faith Kipyegon.
In an interview with Nation Sport at the Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi during then Kenyan trials for the World Championships, Cheruiyot admitted that the moment Kipyegon broke the world record in Paris last month, she changed the dynamics of the race.
“I believe Kenya will be able to reclaim the women’s 5,000m race after the inclusion of Kipyegon who took the race to another level by breaking the world record. Of course the Diamond League races are different from championships but I believe Kipyegon has shown that she is able to run well and win the race,” said Cheruiyot.
She added that team work will determine whether we win the race or not given that she expects Ethiopia to select a strong team for the worlds.
“During our days in track, I used to double in the 5,000m and 10,000m races and this helped me because I used one for speed and the other one for endurance," said Cheruiyot.
Cheruiyot, who has since moved to the road races, believes Athletics Kenya should invest heavily on junior programmes so that the country can keep producing top stars in all competitions.
“Athletics Kenya should support the upcoming and make sure we have strong athletes who will take over the mantle from those either retiring or those moving to the road races,” she added.
Cheruiyot is now working on her comeback after a maternity break and is targeting to compete in one half marathon race in September.
She won the 10,000m title at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing before winning her only Olympics gold, the 5,000m in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Last year during the World Championships in Oregon, USA, Beatrice Chebet settled for silver in 14:46.75 in the 5000m behind Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay (14:46.29) while another Ethiopian Dawit Seyaum took bronze in 14:47.36.
Kenya last won the women's 5,000m gold in Doha 2019 through Hellen Obiri, who has since moved into road races.
Cheruiyot’s sentiments were echoed by former 800m world champion Alfred Kirwa who said that Kenyan athletes must be keen not to be outfoxed in the worlds.
Defending champion Emmanuel Korir, Emmanuel Wanyonyi, Kipngetich Ng’eno and Ferguson Rotich are the Kenyan men who will do duty in the 800m in Budapest.
“The team looks good and they have to all fight and qualify for the final because the two-lap race is normally tricky. Once they reach the final, that’s when they can plan on how to attack the race and if they plan well, they shall definitely bring the medals home,” said Kirwa.