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QUEST FOR GOLD HARVEST: Vivian, Asbel set for jewels in 5,000m and 1,500m Rio Olympics races

ATHLETICS By Bismarck Mutahi in Rio Di Janeiro | August 17th 2016

World champions Vivian Cheruiyot and Asbel Kiprop safely negotiated their passage into the next round of their respective races yesterday at the Olympic Stadium.

Olympic silver medallist 10,000m Cheruiyot, who is the only Kenyan doing a double at the Rio Olympics, made sure of a final place in the 5,000m where she was joined by her colleagues Hellen Obiri and Mercy Cherono.

Cheruiyot, who is seeking the elusive Olympic gold medal, was third in heat two which was won by 10,000m Olympic champion Almaz Ayana of Ethiopia.

The Ethiopian, who denied Cheruiyot a gold medal in the longer race last Friday, was not in the mood to play around with the field as she ensured she broke away from the chasing pack and won the race with a huge gap despite it being only the heats.

Ayana clocked 15:04.35 with Cheruiyot's third place finish timed at 15:17.43. Another Ethiopian Seribere Teferi was second in 15:17.74.

Cheruiyot said she knows the final tomorrow will be tough, but will make sure that together with teammates they will not give Ayana an easy time in winning the gold medal.

"At the moment Ayana is stronger than everyone in both the 10,000m and 5,000m but we will fight to at least try that she does not have it easy on Friday," Cheruiyot said.

In the heat one, Obiri made sure of victory as she stopped the clock in 15:19.38. Cherono, who followed Obiri from behind in most parts of the race was third in 15:19.56 with a former Kenyan Yasemin Can (born Vivian Jemutai) of Turkey finishing second in 15:19.50.

Apart from the threat of Ayana, the Kenyan trio will once again be looking over their shoulders to ensure that another former Kenyan does not spoil their party like it happened in the women 3,000m steeplechase on Monday.

In the 1,500m heats, Kiprop had no problems booking a place in tomorrow's semi-finals even though like he had done in the past he decided to control the race from behind.

He, however, raced to the front at the bell and was in no mood to leave others cross the line ahead of him as he stopped the clock in first place in 3:38.91, which was fairly a faster time considering he did not need to inject his afterburners in the last metres of the race.

World silver medallist Elijah Manangoi (3:36.83) also made sure of a place in the semis finishing second behind Algeria's Olympic champion Taoufik Makloufi (3:46.82).

Ronald Kwemoi, the third Kenyan in the race, qualified in second place in heat three after clocking 3:38.33. Jakub Holusa of the Czech Republic dipped on the line to win the heat in 3:38.31.

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