NAIROBI, August 24- The rocket is back! That was the first thing the jovial Vivian Cheruiyot uttered to greet her record fourth world title in Beijing on Monday as she became the most decorated Kenyan female track runner after reclaiming her women 10,000m crown.
The diminutive ‘Pocket Rocket’ who opted for the longer race on her comeback to the global scene since powering to the double in Daegu, South Korea dazzled the mixed zone at the Beijing National Stadium with her radiant smile after out-sprinting a pack of 10 athletes on the last lap of the women’s 10,000m on Monday.
“I’m happy to return with a bang and feel proud for winning Kenya the first gold medal. I dedicate this to my son, Allan Kiprono, my husband Moses Kiplagat and my entire family,” the overjoyed champion who took a two year break to attend to maternal duties after winning silver (5000m) and bronze (10000m) at the London Olympics in 2012 declared.
It was that performance where she was hoping to follow up her double in Daegu, South Korea in 2011 that convinced her to seek new inspiration- taking a break to welcome Allan in October 2013 before working her way back to the sport.
Knowing she was not yet 100 percent, Cheruiyot opted to flow along with the pedestrian pace the field motored around the track knowing to well her God-given devastating finishing-kick would do the job.
“I was strong and in good shape and that’s why I waited for the kick. (Gelete) Burka is a 1500m runner and I did not want to look back and I have won,” the Berlin 5000m champion who won her latest gold in 31:41.31 explained.
Compatriot and silver medallist at London 2012 in 10,000m, Sally Kipyego who finished fifth in 31:44.42 after injury knocked her out of the Moscow 2013 Worlds was proud the athlete who led her to silver in Daegu had reclaimed the world title for Kenya.
“I’m a bit disappointed I didn’t finish within the medal bracket since I lacked sharpness but will work on it in future races. It’s a proud moment for the country that Vivian has taken back the title,” the Oregon based graduate nurse graciously offered at the mixed zone in Beijing.
After trying three times without success to break into the Kenyan team for Olympics and Worlds, another US-based star, Betsy Saina, who just like Kipyego ran her season’s best 31:51.35 for eighth left the track more fired up to make an impression at next year’s Rio Games.
“I really wanted a podium finish but things didn’t work out. I will go back, train harder and hope to win a medal at the Olympics. You know it’s a dream for any athlete to win. This was my first championship and I’m happy to represent my nation,” she added.
“Congratulations @VivianCheruiyot on bagging Kenya its first Gold Medal in the 10,000m women’s marathon,” president Uhuru Kenyatta tweeted in leading the nation on hailing the diminutive female power running pack after starting a golden afternoon for her nation.
Cheruiyot laid the platform for what Kenyans expect will be a defining last six days of the Beijing Worlds starting on Tuesday when the men 800m, women 1500m and 400m Hurdles are ran in the afternoon session.
Record holder, David Rudisha, Trials champion, Ferguson Cheruiyot and world junior champion, Alfred Kipketer will be on call in the two-lap race with Boniface Mucheru and Nicholas Bett gunning for a rare medal in the last-hurdles final.
Commonwealth champion, Faith Chepng’etich KIpyegon is aiming to cause what would rank high among the monumental upsets of Beijing 2015 when she takes on the might of record holder, Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba in the women Metric mile medal race.