At 7:35pm tonight at the Olympic Stadium in London which will be 9:35pm in Kenya, track superstar Vivian Cheruiyot will be waiting anxiously for the result of the 5,000m final.
Vivian stands out as the only Kenyan to have won 5,000m gold medals at the IAAF World Athletics Championships and questions linger on whether on-form Hellen Obiri, the Olympic 5,000m silver medalist, will become the second woman when called upon tonight.
Obiri has finished 10th, eighth, third and second at four global outdoor championships, there’s only one place left for her progress: to the top of the podium and join Vivian in the elite club.
After finishing 10th in 1,500m on her international championships debut at the 2011 IAAF World Championships in Daegu, Obiri placed eighth at the 2012 Olympics and took bronze at the 2013 World Championships. Following a break in 2015 to give birth, she settled for silver in 5000m at the Olympic Games last year.
And now is she is tip-top form, having won all of her races at 3000m and 5000m this summer and holds world-leading marks in both events, clocking 8:23.14 to win the 3000m at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Monaco and a Kenyan record of 14:18.37 to win the 5000m at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Rome, making her the fifth-fastest woman in history.
It’s not just a matter of fast times, though; it’s the way she has won races – with fast final kilometres that no one can match – that makes her the favourite tonight.
It’s no easy race as she will face women who filled the podium at the last World Championships: Ethiopian duo Almaz Ayana and Senbere Teferi will want to have a say in the race.