NAIROBI, July 15 – Former double distance winner, Vivian Cheruiyot, is keen on reclaiming one of the crowns she won in Daegu 2011 during the forthcoming IAAF World Championships in Beijing.
By her own admission, the ‘Pocket Rocket’ will hit peak form next season with the specific target of Rio 2016 Summer Games where she is determined to win the Olympics gold that has eluded her glittering career.
The Beijing Worlds will run from August 22 to 30 with Cheruiyot bidding for a fourth world title after winning the 5000m in 2009 before completing the double two years later in South Korea.
The London 2012 Olympics silver (5000m) and bronze (10000m) winner, who is finding her form after returning from maternity leave, announced she will not go for double in Beijing.
The diminutive athlete who is racing against time to get top speed back, is likely compete in 5000m at the July 31 and August 1 National Beijing Trials in the punishing elevation of Nairobi.
Cheruiyot, stepped down the distance to bag the national 1500m title in 4:09.88 at Kasarani Stadium, expressed delight with her progress having competed only twice this season, at the Eugene Diamond League and Rabat World Challenge meetings.
Running 4:09.88 in the National championships shows my speed is improving. I’m preparing for the World Championships Trials and although I have qualified for both events, I will only concentrate on one but I’m yet to decide.
“The speed work that I’ve done so far will help me especially in the final lap of the 5000m which is normally fast,” the 2011 Punta Umbria World Cross champion who welcomed her first born Allan Kiprono in the fall of 2013 asserted.
In Oregon, Cheruiyot clocked her season’s best 14:46.69 for third behind Commonwealth champion, Faith Chepng’etich (14:31.95) and Ethiopian world leading speedster, Genzebe Dibaba (14:19.76).
It was her slowest time on the international circuit since 2007 where she ran 14:47.43 at the Memorial Van Damme Meeting in Brussels.
It is the ninth fastest time of the year far off from the leading Ethiopian duo, Continental Cup titleholder, Almaz Ayana who is topping the list in 14:14.32 and Genzebe who uncorked 14:15.41 in Paris DL.
The two athletes who are eight years younger than the Kenyan record holder, have also ran fastest times in 1500m and 3000m this season and are simply the athletes to beat for anyone harbouring world title ambitions in Beijing.
In the metric mile, Genzebe, a two-time world indoor titleholder set a new African record of 3:54.11 whilst Almaz set the 3000m bar at 8:22.22 in Rabat where Cheruiyot came distant second in 8:39.75.
“For Genzebe and Ayana, this is their time because they are in good shape, so let them enjoy. I’m coming from maternity leave and I’m regaining my form very well but my time will come next year when I will be back in my form.
“I’m working hard to try and reclaim my title and after the selection of World Championships team, I will focus more on my training to see I bring back gold home,” the 31-year-old National Police Service athlete stressed.
With 10000m defending champion, Tirunesh Dibaba out on maternal leave and 5000m crown-holder, Meseret Defar also missing from the circuit , the distance track races at the Worlds are expected to be keenly contested.
Besides Cheruiyot, Commonwealth champions, Faith Chepng’etich who sits third on the year lists in 5000m (14:31.95) and Mercy Cherono who won the 12 and a half-lap gold in Scotland are other Kenyan prospects.
“Since Eugene, we have been working on her speed because she has enough endurance from hill training. When she won the double in Daegu, she ran 4:04 in 1500m here in Nairobi.
“She did 4:09 which means she is not far. We go home encouraged if we do hard training, she will be okay in the five or so weeks before the World Championships,” coach and spouse, Moses Kiplagat, added on Cheruiyot’s prospects.
For now, the ‘Pocket Rocket’ is not going to compete outside as she goes to fine tune her blasters for the selection event and subsequently, the Worlds.