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C’wealth champ Cherotich eyes Worlds gold

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Purity Cherotich after winning the Commonwealth title in Scotland last year. PHOTO/File

Purity Cherotich after winning the Commonwealth title in Scotland last year. PHOTO/File

NAIROBI, July 27 – Commonwealth 3000m women steeplechase champion, Purity Cherotich Kirui is geared up for this weekend’s Beijing World Championships Trials in her bid to fulfil a cherished dream of lining up at the biennial global showpiece.

The 2010 World Junior champion faces an imposing task at the selection event to China with reigning titleholder, Milcah Chemos, breakout Diamond League leader, Virginia Nyambura, African titleholder, Hyvin Kiyeng and Moscow, Worlds silver medallist Lydia Chepkurui among those invited in the star-studded showdown in her speciality.

Despite not finding less time to train this season after graduating as a constable from the Kiganjo National Police Service Training College in June, Cherotich believes she will be among those vying to succeed Chemos in Beijing.

“I know it will be very tough. I can’t say I will win because whoever will be strong will carry the day. Going to Nationals, I had only trained for two weeks since I had to complete college first.

“After Commonwealth Games, I went to Bahamas to compete in the World Relay Championships before my only competitive race in Doha,” the 23-year-old who hails from Kericho, stated after running at the Kenya Nationals where Kiyeng forced her to accept silver in 9:33.41.

Her last outing at the Herculis meeting in Monaco returned a career best of 9:17.89 for sixth in a world class gathering that gave her confidence she was finding the legs to compete for the four available slots in the women’s steeple.

In her first outing of the campaign, the Scotland Club Games champion paled to disappointing 12th (9:40.49) at the IAAF Diamond League season opener in a race where Nyambura famously ditched her rabbit role to steal the honours.

Cherotich, made her international debut at the 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games, where she was seventh in 1500 metres semi finals in Pune, India and also ran for Kenya as part of their 4x400m relay quartet before stamping her authority in the water and barrier event in 2010 by winning gold in Moncton, Canada.

She was more consistent last year, finishing fourth at the Shanghai Diamond League then winning the IAAF World Challenge Beijing in a meet record of 9:25.68 before claiming her first national title in June (9:23.43).

That punched her Scotland ticket where she led her nation to a medal sweep of the women’s steeplechase, defeating Moscow Chemos in a nail-biting finish over the homestretch.

Her biggest threats are Nyambura alongside Kiyeng who is currently the second fastest steeplechaser with 9:12.51 behind leader, Tunisian Habiba Ghribi (9:11.28).

Going to the Trials, Kiyeng will be buoyed by the good season she is enjoying after beating Cherotich in the nationals in a photo finish of 9:33.40 against the Club Games title holder’s 9:33.41.

“Running 9:33 in Nairobi is not easy so that is a sign that my body is responding well. I only need to work more on clearing the barriers since I have enough endurance. After competing in four Diamond Leagues I think I’m ready now for the Trials.

“Expect gold in Beijing since our aim will be to bring back home Chemos’ gold,” Kiyeng underscored.

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