NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 8- After returning from a long injury lay off close to two years, 2013 World 3,000m steeplechase champion Milcah Chemos has announced she will be ditching the water and hurdles race for the 5,000m and 10,000m beginning 2017.
Chemos, 30, has been missing from competitive action since winning silver at the Commonwealth Games in 2014 with a back injury which required surgery.
“It was a major injury and quite delicate because something that involves surgery is not easy. That is the reason I don’t want to go back to hurdles. It has been a painful thing to move on because I was so used to the steeple and now having in my mind I have never run 5k, it is not easy,” Chemos told Capital Sport.
The National Police Service athlete enjoyed quite some substantive success in the steeplechase, having picked her first major trophy in 2010 during the African Athletics Championships in Nairobi.
Chemos would go on to win the Commonwealth Games title in Delhi that same year and has subsequently won the IAAF Diamond League trophy in 2011 preceding her World Championship title in 2013.
She now hopes to translate the same success to the longer distances and she plans to participate in at least two international races before the national trials for the World Championships later next year.
“I have to try and get the qualification times with two races outside the country next year. I am also planning to run in the Kenya Police Cross Country Trials and that is where I think I will test my endurance. It will tell me where I am and whether I’m ready or not,” a widely smiling Chemos added.
She knows only too well it is a treacherous path to her debut but has promised to work her socks off to get a place in Kenya’s team to next August’s World Athletics Championships in London, United Kingdom.
“I have to work harder and I have even doubled my effort in training because the workout for the 5k and 10k is different from a steeple work out. I am that lady who doesn’t fear and God willing, I will hunt for a medal in London,” Chemos confidently affirmed.
With Vivian Cheruiyot announcing her departure from the track, Chemos hopes to battle to pick the crown from her, though she acknowledges the competition will be stiff.
Behind, in the steeplechase, she is confident she has left Kenya’s heritage in the able hands of Hyvin Kiyeng and youngster Celliphine Chespol who she has personally mentored and remains confident the two can carry the mantle, despite competition from Kenyan-born Bahraini Ruth Jebet.
-Chemos receive silver-
Meanwhile, Chemos was presented with her bronze medal from the 2012 Olympics and silver from the 2011 World Championships after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) stripped Russian Yuliya Zaripova of her gold medals at both events for doping.
During the 2012 London Olympics, Chemos finished fourth behind Zaripova, who won gold while at the 2011 worlds, she finished third, a race also won by the Russian.
“Though it has been too long, at least I have the medals now. I have come to learn my genuine name and personality will always remain. It is a lesson to dopers that no matter how long it takes, your time will come. If you are a cheat you will always be a cheat,” excited Chemos told Capital Sport with her two medals in hand.
The athlete has at the same time promised to unite Kenyan athletes and help fight for their rights as well as take up the serious issue of doping having been appointed the athletes’ representative at Athletics Kenya.
“It is not an easy thing. For the last one month, it has been a lot of hard work and I have come to know about the problems athletes face that I didn’t know before. I am going to help them especially those not paid their race winning cash. The most important thing is to unite them because I believe the enemy of an athlete is a fellow athlete,” Chemos offered.