BERLIN, August 21 – A week after Linet Masai pulled of one of the biggest shocks of this year’s World Athletics Championships by beating the feared Ethiopians to the 10,000 metres gold, another trio of Kenyans will be hoping to repeat the trick at the Olympiastadion.
Vivian Cheruiyot, Sylvia Kibet and Iness Chenonge will line up in the women’s 5,000 metres final hoping to emulate Masai’s exploits when they take on reigning champion Meseret Defar, Meselech Melkamu, Genzegbe Dibaba and Sentayehu Ejigu.
The Kenyans looked comfortable in the heats and Cheruiyot- a silver medallist in Osaka two years ago has promised to do even better this time round.
“The finals will be very tough. We shall try and work hard in the race by taking it a bit faster. I came so close in Osaka and I will give it my all to see if I can win,” said Cheruiyot.
Kibet who was fourth in Osaka and also fourth in Beijing last year is determined to be among the medals this time round.
“For the last two competitions I have so close but haven’t got a medal yet. Hopefully this year it will be different. I am in very good shape and with effort and the right tactics I will improve,” she said after the heats on Thursday.
She certainly is in the shape of her life having run fast time sin 3,000 and 5,000 metres this year.
A veteran who first represented Kenya in 2002, Chenonge is enjoying a renaissance of sorts this year and she will look to continue her swansong with another strong showing.
Powerfully built, she has the endurance and could yet be the surprise on Saturday as she seeks to emulate Masai who comes from her home area-Mt Elgon.
But the trio will have to contend with Defar who is still smarting from her 10,000 metres debacle. Hugely popular back in Ethiopia, the amiable athlete is under huge pressure to deliver in the absence of world record holder Tirunesh Dibaba.
She has had a poor year and a half and she seemed to lose power in the last 50 metres last Saturday but then she is accomplished 5,000 metres runner and if ever there is a stage to redeem herself-this will be it.
She will have ample help from her partner in crime in the 10,000 metre race Melkamu who celebrated a bit too soon last Saturday and newcomer Ejigu.
Dibaba’s younger sister Genzegbe will hope to keep the family’s name flying in the absence of her more famous sister.