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Steady Vivian rolls on in London

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NAIROBI, Kenya, July 13 – Double World Champion Vivian Cheruiyot led a Kenyan podium sweep to sustain her unbeaten run over 5000m at the London leg of the Samsung Diamond League on Friday.

Several Olympic and World titleholders were on hand in the stellar collection to sample the host city for London 2012 with Cheruiyot running in her final race before the start of track and field action on August 3.

Despite her spouse facing court charges, Cheruiyot did enough to stretch her unbeaten record over 12 and a half-laps to 11 by out-kicking 2010 World Junior 3000m gold winner, Mercy Cherono over the last 600m to win in 14:48.86.

Splits of 2:57.77, 6:00.06, 9:03.54 and 12:01.17 left three Kenyans and two Ethiopians clear of Britain’s Juliet Bleasdale as the steady pace picked up in the closing stages.

Cheruiyot and Cherono took the lead from 2009 World 10000m winner, Linet Masai and pulled away to conduct a private battle over the last lap.

The African, Commonwealth and two-time Diamond League crown holder was always in control and eased ahead in the straight without needing to call on her full sprinting power.

Cherono and Masai recorded season’s bests in second and third, 14:49.26 and 14:53.93 respectively, while Bleasdale was dragged to huge best of 15:10.06.

“I don’t expect to run a great time here, I’m just here to see how my body feels and get ready for the Olympic Games. It is only about winning then I go back to Kenya,” she told Iaaf.org in a pre-race press conference.

Cheruiyot will return to London hoping to reproduce her double winning act from South Korea when she returns to the city later this month as she chases legend as the first Kenyan athlete to soar to two Olympic gold medals at the same event.

“I need that gold badly, it’s the only medal I do not have in my athletics career, I want it badly and in my heart, I know I will do my best

“This year, I think it is possible since the training has gone well. When someone decides she wants to double, she must be sure she will go and do something good. I hope I will do the same thing I did last year,” the Laureus Sports Woman of the Year declared after she made it to the Kenyan team in a previous interview with Capital Sport.

Other participants in the race included 2006 World Junior 3000m champion Veronica Nyaruai who was fourth in 14:57.75 with Magdalene Masai a distant seventh in 15:28.64.

The corresponding men’s race was won by home favourite, Mo Farah, Britain’s biggest distance gold medal prospect when a sustained kick over the last 200m took him to the line in 13:06.04 ahead of Australia’s Collins Birmingham (13:09.57) who gave spirited chase at the bell as Kenyans missed out on the top three.

Ugandan double Commonwealth titleholder, Moses Kipsiro (13:09.98) who led for most of the middle part of the competition was well clear in third, as African bronze winner, Mark Kiptoo (13:13.77) led Kenyans home in fourth.

Beijing Olympic champion Nancy Jebet who will not defend her title in London after failing to compete the Trials continued her recent slide in form in her 1500m specialty as she was never a factor in a tenth finish in 4:13.56 which was her season best.

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