All is not well in four-time World Champion Vivian Cheruiyot and her husband Moses Kiplagat’s paradise. Things boiled over last week when a confrontation ensued between her and former celebrated athlete Abraham Chelang’a.
During the World Cross-Country Tour showpiece in Lobo village on February 4, there was a dramatic showdown between Cheruiyot and the two.
Cheruiyot, who was named Pocket Rocket for her fast running and dimunitive stature, was on the start list and was expected to compete alongside two-time World and Olympic champion Faith Kipyegon and other top athletes, but she chose to follow the action with her husband Moses Kiplagat.
As they watched the race, Chelang’a walked up to them and after greeting Kiplagat, a row between Cheuruiyot and the visitor ensued.
In an audio recording, Cheruiyot and Chelang’a are heard exchanging some words in a noisy environment.
Chelang’a reported the matter at Langas Police Station in Eldoret the same day, that Cheruiyot, who is a Chief Inspector of Police attached to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), had threatened to shoot him.
Both Cheruiyot and Chelang’a were summoned to Kapseret Sub-County DCI office to record statements on Tuesday, and there was more trading of bitter words between Cheruiyot and her husband, on one hand, and she and Chelang’a, on the other.
Cheruiyot, a former Olympic champion, accuses Chelang’a of rocking her marriage by leading her husband astray.
Shaking her marriage
She claims Chelang’a has been aiding her husband in sampling young, beautiful and petite women in Eldoret town and beyond, a behaviour, she says, is shaking her marriage.
Cheruiyot alleges Chelang’a and Kiplagat have for a long time been spending money from her businesses, most of them managed by her husband, on women.
But Cheruiyot would not stop there. She also wants the children her husband sired with his first wife Caroline Kwambai out of their family home in Ilula, saying she no longer wanted to bear the burden of adults whose mother was still alive, working and running businesses.
She exploded after her husband accused her of arrogance.
A look at their marriage shows they have had a troubled union in recent years, with Cheruiyot pointing an accusing finger at Chelang’a for all the troubles in her paradise.
Sometime in 2021, Chelang’a reported her at Ainabtich Police Station, claiming she had abused him as takataka (rubbish), but later withdrew the case.
But she insists he should keep off their affairs.
“Chelang’a is determined to ruin my marriage. Why should he follow him all over the place? Even after he saw Chelang’a threatening to slap me at the Lobo Village, he did nothing to protect me, and later travelled together to the Kerio Valley for reasons I don’t know,” Cheruiyot says.
She continues: “I took part in many races and Moses has been helping me in managing my businesses. It is unfair for him to start ganging up a man who is misleading him and misusing my sweat.
“My husband has left me with the burden of raising children from her previous marriage. I have paid for the children’s fees, one having completed college and another set to join university. It is now time for these children to go back to their mother.”
She claims Chelang’a has been provoking her, and then apologing thereafter. But Chelang’a also accuses Cheruiyot of doing the same, offending him and then apologizing.
On Chelanga's allegations that she (Cheruiyot) threatened to shoot him, the Pocket Rocket says: “I only said niko na kisasi na wewe (I have a beef with you – Chelanga), but I did not say nitakupiga risasi (I will shoot you) as Chelang'a claims. In the recordings he (Chelanga) is sharing on WhatsApp groups, Chelanga is heard threatening to beat me up.”
She told the Nairobian that she had no gun and would not hurt anyone, even if she had one. She further accused Chelang'a of attempting to reunite her husband with his first wife Caroline. “He (Chelanga) walked to us after speaking with Caroline at the start line in Lobo.”
Attempts at resolution
She says Athletics Kenya President Jack Tuwei and some senior police officers were aware of the troubles in her marriage and had attempted to resolve the problem.
As Cheruiyot was fighting to keep Chelang'a out of her family, Kiplagat (her husband) was defending his friendship with him (Chelang'a), heralding a standoff.
According to Kiplagat, Cheruiyot has been arrogant and even forced him to build a new house after his wife (Cheruiyot) constantly killed his ego by reminding him that she was living in a house she built.
“I am now more confident because I built a house and Vivian will not be reminding me again. I think my wife has a social problem. She should not discuss the issue of the children from my previous marriage because the children are innocent and want to stay with their father. She should stop discussing children,” Kiplagat told the Nairobian.
Kiplagat attributes his family’s wealth to Cheruiyot’s athletics talent, and notes that he has helped her invest in lucrative ventures such as real estate and petrol stations such as Oslo among other income-generating investments.
“Chelang'a is my friend and we are doing nothing that can potentially break our marriage. The only thing that brings Chelang'a and I together is he (Chelang'a) bought land next to mine in Keiyo, and that makes us neighbours.
“Vivian wants me to create enemity with my friend (Chelang'a), something I am not ready to do. If this hatred continues, it means I will be forced to flee whenever I see Chelang'a, just for my own peace. I have been summoned by the DCI to record a statement in the Lobo altercation, and to the best of my knowledge, I heard nothing because there was a lot of noise because fans were cheering,” Kiplagat says.
Kiplagat’s first wife Caroline was the chief starter at the Lobo World Cross Country Tour event.
“Chelang'a can’t help me seduce young women. These days, I am an elder and I come home early to enjoy tea,” Kiplagat says.
Fierce court battle
Chelanga, on his side, will go the whole hog on the Lobo threat to life case, and warned Cheruiyot of a fierce court battle.
“I had to withdraw the case where she (Cheruiyot) called me takataka in 2021 after the truce was made through her husband Moses. I am not ready to withdraw the case this time because this is a threat to my life. During the confrontation, Cheruiyot said she will personally shoot me,” says Chelanga.
He says Cheruiyot has no right to stop him from associating with Kiplagat and even his former wife.
Like Kiplagat, Chelang'a says Cheruiyot was paranoid and had social challenges, and needed help to overcome her unfounded fears.
“She (Cheruiyot) can pocket her husband if she doesn’t want him to interact with other men. Kiplagat is way older than me, and I can’t introduce him to young women. The issue of women can’t arise whenever we meet because culturally, it is taboo for me to discuss women with an older man. Moses is my mentor and advisor, and Vivian should stop stopping me from meeting people,” Chelanga explains.
Kiplagat and Cheruiyot met many years ago when the latter was a junior athlete at Sing’ore Girls and the former was an athlete training in Iten. One thing led to the other, and they got married in the early 2000s, and Kiplagat became her coach.