Chebet eyes more history in Paris after world record show

Beatrice Chebet and other officials is welcomed by Utamaduni ngoma on arrival by Team Kenya contingent arrive at JKIA from Eugene, United States where they participated in the Prefontaine Classic over the weekend. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Newly crowned women’s 10,000m world record holder, Beatrice Chebet, flew back to the country to a heroic reception at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport early morning on Tuesday.

The two-time World Cross Country champion, who clocked a world record 28:54.14 to win the women’s 10,000m at the Prefontaine Classic on Saturday said the feat was a surprise to her.

“I had not really planned to break the world record when I went to compete in the United States. My management had decided that I simply try to make the qualifying time for the Paris Olympics for the women’s 10,000m. During the race, I felt that my body was in good shape and so I decided to push myself to the limit and that’s how I broke the world record,” Chebet said.

The Commonwealth Games 5000m champion is now looking ahead to the Summer Games where history awaits.

Kenya is yet to win gold in the women’s 10,000m in the history of the competition, but Chebet is praying that the wait comes to an end in Paris.

“It all depends on how we all prepare for that day as Team Kenya. The Lord is a God of wonders and we never know His plans for us. I believe it is possible for us to come back with this title that has eluded us for a long time,” she said.

First things first, the 24-year-old will be gearing up for the national trials for the Olympics where she will be competing in the women 5000m.

Chebet is largely expected to double in the 10,000m as well as 5000m at the Olympics.

Joining Chebet in the 25-lap race in Paris is Lillian Kasait who clocked 29:26.89 to finish third in Prefontaine.

Kasait, who will be competing for the second time at the Olympics, said she is looking forward to a better performance than the last edition at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo which were held in 2021.

“The experience in my first Olympics in Tokyo was good but now I want to do better in Paris. The team that we have with Chebet is a formidable one and I know the third person who will join us will make it better,” she said.

Also arriving yesterday was Daniel Mateiko who reigned supreme in the men’s 10,000m in the same event after clocking 26:50.81.

Looking at his Olympics debut, Mateiko described it as a dream come true.

“It felt great to win the race…it’s something I had trained for and prepared for quite some time. Now, I want to work hard to ensure a great result at the Paris Olympics,” Mateiko said.

The Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon champion narrowly missed out on the Tokyo Olympics when he clocked 27:27.98 to finish fifth in the men’s 10,000m at the national trials.

However, all that is now water under the bridge and the 25-year-old describes the setback as a blessing in disguise.

“That is part of an athlete’s life...there are always ups and downs in our careers. It was a disappointment but I got over it and now I am looking forward to competing in Paris. I believe that what worked for me in Prefontaine was my self-confidence,” he said.

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