World champion Cheruiyot back from injury, eyes Olympics slot

Kenya's Timothy Cheruiyot celebrates after winning the men's 1,500m race during the World Continental Tour at Nyayo Stadium.

Photo credit: Chris Omollo | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The national trials for the Olympic Games are scheduled for June 17 to 19 at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani. 
  • Ouma said his athlete will only take part in the Doha race before focusing on trials.

World 1,500 metres champion Timothy Cheruiyot has recovered from a hamstring injury in time to take a shot at the Olympic title during the Tokyo Summer Games.

Cheruiyot, who will be seeking his maiden win in Doha’s leg of the Diamond League (DL) on Friday this week, said he will not be looking for fast times this season, but Olympic victory.

Doha will be Cheruiyot’s first race since winning the men’s 1,500m race during the Kip Keino Classic on October 3, last year in Nairobi.

However, Cheruiyot last appeared in Doha on September 25, last year where he finished eighth in 800m.

He had the previous year settled second in the 1,500m in Doha in 2019, losing the battle to compatriot Elijah Manang’oi.

“I usually start my preparations in November but delayed until January this year owing to the left leg hamstring injury,” said Cheruiyot, adding that he has been putting  his final touches for the races ahead under coach Ben Ouma at Gems Cambridge International School Stadium in Nairobi.

“I feel much better and I’m regaining my 2019 form slowly. I am working on my endurance on track having finished my gym sessions,” said Cheruiyot, adding that he will be economical in his appearance in events before the Olympic Games.

“I believe I failed to get the ticket to the 2016 Rio Olympics due to exhaustion and fatigue. I had competed in many races,” said Cheruiyot, who finished fourth during the trials that were held in Eldoret to miss out on the Rio Olympics.

Kenya failed to get a medal in Rio with former champion Asbel Kiprop and Ronald Kwemoi finishing sixth and 13th, respectively, during the final. 

Manang’oi sustained an injury in the qualifying rounds and failed to start his semi-final race.

“There will be pressure especially at the local trials where no one is a favourite. Previous performance doesn’t count here,“said Cheruiyot, who has a personal best 3:28.41 in 1,500m.

The national trials for the Olympic Games are scheduled for June 17 to 19 at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani. 

Ouma said his athlete will only take part in the Doha race before focusing on trials.

“Doha is meant to test and see where we are in terms of shape. What we have been lacking is competition experience,” said Ouma.

“Our ultimate prize is the Olympic gold medal, not fast times. Cheruiyot is in cognisant of that.”

Kenya has won four gold medals from the Olympics in the metric mile race; Kipchoge Keino (1968 Mexico City), Peter Rono (1988 Seoul)Noah Ngeny (2000 Sydney) and Asbel Kiprop (2008 Beijing).

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