Timothy Cheruiyot eyes world record, Olympics gold

By Xinhua: Thursday, January 2nd 2020 at 10:30 GMT +3 | Athletics
Kenya's Timothy Cheruiyot holds the national flag after winning the Men's 1500m final at the 2019 IAAF Athletics World Championships at the Khalifa International stadium in Doha on October 6, 2019. (Photo by Giuseppe CACACE / AFP)

World 1,500m champion Timothy Cheruiyot believes the return to action of his training mate Elijah Manangoi will propel the two to post fast times on the track even as they plot to attempt breaking the world record this year.

Cheruiyot had until last year been playing second fiddle to his training mate and friend Manangoi.

However, a hamstring injury ruled out Manangoi from defending his title in Doha, setting the stage for Cheruiyot to climb to the top and reign supreme on the global stage. 

Now Cheruiyot is dreaming of shuttering the 3:26.00 world record set by legendary Moroccan middle-distance runner Hicham El Guerrouj, which has been unchallenged for the last two decades.

“The victory I earned in the Doha World Championships last October meant a lot to me because it (gold) was something I had yearned for the past four years.

“I know the record has been there for long and Kenyan athletes have been top of the leaderboard in fast times in the race so, it would be nice if we can work together to attempt breaking it.

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“The focus should be on how to train and for sure the record. What I know is it will go down at some time,” Cheruiyot said on Tuesday in Kericho.

But of greater concern to Cheruiyot going into the new season in 2020 will be being able to prove to the world that he is his own man and can emerge from the shadows of his training mate Manangoi to stage his own contest and win.

That will be at the Tokyo Olympic Games. “Of course every athlete has his focus on the Olympic Games. A win at this stage will go a long way in cementing my name among Kenya’s best athletes. For now, my focus is to make the team for the Olympic Games and try to win a medal,” Cheruiyot added.

The two train under coach Bernard Ouma together with prodigy George Manangoi, a younger brother to Elijah, the Commonwealth Games champion.

The trio hopes to make the final Kenya team to Tokyo and help the country secure the gold medal.

Meanwhile, Kenya’s Morris Gachaga hopes his return to the southern Chinese city of Xiamen on January 5 will add to his name a marathon title.

Gachaga, 24, last competed in China back in 2016 where he was fourth at the Yangzhou Half Marathon clocking one hour and 46 seconds.

But it will be a new challenge as he takes on his fourth marathon, hoping to end the Ethiopian dominance on Sunday.

“I feel strong in having trained well and with focus. My target is to win and I know that I face strong opponents but it is down to how one is prepared on the race day and that is what I hope will play to my favor,” said Gachaga. 

This year, Gachaga has raced in two marathons in Paris, where he was fourth clocking 2:07:46 and in Amsterdam where he settled for the seventh spot after timing 2:06:24, which currently stands as his personal best.


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