Athletics Athletics

Cheruiyot, Kipyego book second Dibaba date


NAIROBI, Kenya, August 7- Its game set and match for double world champion Vivian Cheruiyot and Olympics silver medallist Sally Kipyego after succeeding in buying another chance to mow Ethiopia’s Baby Faced Destroyer, Tirunesh Dibaba at London 2012 on Tuesday.

Having been left in the slipstream of the now three-time Olympics titleholder on Sunday in the women 10000m where Kipyego led Cheruiyot to the finish for silver and bronze, the Kenyans set up a second date against Tirunesh on Friday after qualifying from the 5000m heats.

Disappointed bronze medallist Cheruiyot led Kipyego to the finish in the second heat in 15:01.54 against 15:01.57 in the race won by Ethiopia’s former African 1500m titleholder, Gelete Burka in 15:01.44 to safely navigate to the medal race.

In the final stretch, there was a sprint to the finishing line which included Julia Bleasdale of Great Britain who qualified in fourth place in a personal best of 15:02.00 and American Molly Huddle who completed the list in 15:02.26.

Viola Kibiwott, the third Kenyan in the event was first out on the track in the faster Heat 1 won by defending champion Tirunesh in 14:58.48 ahead of her compatriot and 2004 Athens winner Meseret Defar who was second in 14:58.70. Kibiwott came in third in 14:59.31.

The two Ethiopians did a repeat of the 10000m event choosing to keep an even pace but kept moving forward midway and finally took the lead in the last two laps, where they opened up the gap at the sound of the bell.

Kibiwot who was behind them throughout the race tried to keep up with their fast pace but their finishing kick was too strong for her as the Ethiopian archrivals laid a marker of what to expect at the decider.

Cheruiyot, who has dominated every major championship 5000m race since finishing a disappointed fifth in Beijing, thus earned a last chance to win the medal she covets most in what is her stated speciality having seen her double dream at London 2012 ended by Tirunesh’s afterburners.

Tirunesh initially a reserve but reinstated to the Ethiopian trio after retaining her 10000m title last Friday took the first step to scoring another distance double when coasting through her qualifier where both races were dominated by East African runners.

Tirunesh the only woman to have previously achieved the feat with her victories in Beijing, along with 2004 champion and teammate Meseret plus Kenya’s former World Junior cross country winner Kibiwot, were a class above their opponents.

“God knows, I’m ready,” the 10000m repeat champion told IAAF. “Meseret is ready and the gold medal will be in our hands if God is willing.”

Meseret confirming her shape and who along with Cheruiyot, the 2009 and 2011 World champion have the capability of beating Dibaba, added: “I have a good chance, I’m in a good shape and I’m feeling fine but there are other strong athletes in the field and I will never stop fighting for it.”

“The plan was to save energy. It was a good race and everything went according to plan. I am ready for the final.”