Athletics Athletics

Moses out to deliver ‘Caanan’ in London


NAIROBI, Kenya, July 13- He sits at the top of the gifted Masai trilogy of runners but Moses who finished fourth over 10000m in Beijing before taking bronze in Berlin will plough the lone furrow for his family at the London Olympics.

However, despite his younger sister and 2009 World 10000m champion, Linet and the base of the Masai running act, Dennis who won the World Junior 10000m crown in 2010 missing from London, he will be in cherished company.

His mother Leonida Cherop will travel to the Olympic city to watch her son in action courtesy of Proctor & Gamble who will foot her expenses under their Proud Sponsor of Moms initiative.

“I feel good that my mother will be watching me. It’s a big challenge since she is expecting me to run well. Linet is not going to London as I was expecting so I know I have to run well. She told me that I will be running for the family in London and this is pressure.

“I have not achieved much since Berlin so this year, I’m going to try something, I’m motivating myself to give my all this time since you do not what will come tomorrow. I almost got bronze in Beijing but I was not experienced as I am now in 10,000m,” he intimated.

Masai’s return to form after two years of hip and back injuries that restrained his appearances in competition to make the Olympics squad means he is the first runner from Mount Elgon, a region at the tip of the Kenyan Rift Valley, to achieve the feat.

Having become the standard bearer for his family and the community that was ravaged by war sparked by the insurgent Sabaot Land Defence Force as recently as three years ago, Moses is cognitive of the immense pressure on his shoulders.

“To be running in my second Olympics means you are working hard. I’m happy to have run in 2008 and now in 2012 even if in between, I was not fit. When I was seeing people running and I was just relaxing, I was sad.

“In our career, sometimes you have not invested well and during injury, you are afraid of what can happen next,” he explained.

“People from my place should work hard and be disciplined. In London, it will be (Milcah) Chemos and I from Mount Elgon. Even to appear one time in the Olympics is not easy, especially in Kenya where every year we have good runners,” the former double African junior champion stated.

Masai has been dogged by injury since 2006 meaning his undoubted quality has been curtailed having won the 5,000/10,000m double (13:45.15/28:30.27) at the Tunis Africa Juniors the year before.

What was initially diagnosed as typhoid, and which saw him miss the trials for the World Cross Country Championships in Fukuoka, turned out to be a serious ailment that sees his body secrete excessive digestive acids.

The condition raises his acidity to unbearable levels when it worsens and he is on medication to keep it under control to date.

After finishing fourth in Beijing and winning bronze in Berlin the following year, he was dogged by a new set of injury bother when his back pulled up forcing his right leg to be immobile.

“I visited doctors and physios from Ireland and in Kenya where they worked on strengthening my right foot,” he explained.

He featured in only three races in 2011, Hengelo (5000 m/13:13.03), Eugene (27:10.05) and Worlds Best 10K (28:28) as he missed out on the Daegu Worlds, compelled to watch his sister and partner contest for places in the Kenyan team on the stands during the July Trials. Linet made it and won bronze in 10,000m in South Korea.

Moses made an unpromising start to 2012 in his favoured Worlds Best 10K where he was 13th (30:34) on February 28 before he learned he was among the 30 runners chosen to train for the Kenyan 10,000m team in Eldoret by Athletics Kenya around the same period.

During the April 17 mini-Trial in Nairobi where that the federation organised to whittle down that number by half ahead of the planned London selection event at the June 2 Pre-Fontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon, Moses took no chances, winning the largely pedestrian race in 28:10.3.

In Eugene, Moses established his return to the grandest stage in sport when he stopped the timer at 27:02.25, the number-2 time in the 25-lap distance in 2012 to finish behind Kiprop and seal his London ticket.

“I have not achieved much since Berlin so this year, I’m going to try something, I’m motivating myself to give my all this time since you do not what will come tomorrow. I almost got bronze in Beijing but I was not experienced as I am now in 10,000m,” he intimated.

He is engaged to fellow athlete, Doris Changeiywo, the fourth finisher at 2008 World Cross and they were blessed with daughter Michelle Chemutai born in January 2009.

“If you are single, you do not have responsibility. My family has made me concentrate on what I do since my partner knows what I’m doing. She does not disturb me at such a time when I’m preparing for something like the Olympics, an event that is special,” he expressed how being a family man has altered his focus.

“Finding out that Moses has qualified for the London 2012 Olympic Games is certainly one of the most precious moments of my entire life. I am very happy that through our family support he is going to achieve his dreams,” his mother said as she prepares to make the journey to London to watch her son, a Kenya Police officer, in close quarters do what he cherishes, carrying his nation’s torch.