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Flying Cheruiyot

WEIRD NEWS
By By CHRIS MUSUMBA | June 24th 2012

The story of Vivian Cheruiyot season so far has been a remarkable one. The ending could be even better.

The diminutive long distance athlete yesterday got her wish to double up in both 5,000m and 10,000m distances at the London Games. She joins an exclusive club of runners who have done that at the highest stage of competition.

Isabella Ochichi in 2004 Athens Games and Tegla Loroupe at the 2000 Sydney but both failed to sparkle.

However, Cheruiyot star has been shining brightly and she proved in Daegu World Championships, that she can take on the two events in her strides and beat the opposition hands down. Will London exalting her or sound doom for the 28-year-old?

Saturday, a week after she won the 10,000m slot in classic run at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani Cheruiyot proved to be the steel in the Kenya team with sally Kipyego and Viola Kibiwott serving as the silver lining.

She made sure 2009 World 10,000m champion Linet Masai quest for a second chance to make the team to London was foiled. So will be Sylvia Kibet, the World Silver medallist over the 5,000m distance.

Double assault

“I’m happy to make the team. I have the energy to double up in London. The race was not so hard today, but it will be harder in London.

“I go to training now and hope to polish my skills as we head to the Olympics,” said Cheruiyot.

Masai started well after the fifth lap and took charge of the race. She did the next three laps in just three minutes and 48 seconds as she upped the pace. But it was to her detrimental. She could not shake off her rivals and she paid the ultimate prize as ran out of breath with Kipyego, Cheruiyot, Kibiwott and Kibet overtaking her.

As the leading pack approached the bell, it was clear, a sprint finish would settle the top three and earn a ticket to London games.

Sally Kipyego fired the first salvo with 350 metres remaining. In came Cheruiyot in the inner lane with Kibet buried behind her back. The race for London was on. Every step mattered. But there was an intruder, Viola Kibiwott, a 1,500m runner, who has failed to sparkle in the four-lap race.

Cheruiyot turned on the gears and speed off past Kipyego as they made the 200m bend. The race for the championships was over, what remained was which athlete among the trio was to accompany Cheruiyot to London in the 12-lap race.

Cheruiyot crossed the line with a three-metre gap in 16:08.08, Kibet looked to have made the better of the sprint and was deeping in for the second, she pulled a muscle and almost stopped.

Kipyego took the opportunity to sneak in second in 16:09.29, while the outsider Viola Kibiwott rushed in third in 16:09.45. Kibet was a distance fourth and out of the equation. She clocked 16:10.81 ahead of upcoming Janet Kisa 16:18.71. Even Veronica Nyaruai was stronger to beat Masai to the sixth slot. Nyaruai was timed at 16:19.31 while Masai was seventh in 16:23.75.

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