Nairobi, July 13 — Double African champion, Gladys Cherono, is looking forward to turning her continental dominance into a Moscow World Championships gold after winning the women’s 10,000m Kenyan Trial here on Saturday.
Timing her finish to perfection, the African 5,000m/10,000m champion and Kenya Defence Forces runner, nosed ahead of the field immediately after the bell to clinch the race in 33:43.03 to punch her ticket ahead of all challengers in the race for Moscow, reports Xinhua.
“The race was tough since there were good athletes competing and I’m delighted to make the team. I want to see how I can perform against the best in the world and my aim is to try hard to be a world champion,” the 29 year-old who ran her personal best in the distance on June 27 whilst finishing second in Ostrava in 30:29.23.
Having raced clear of the leading four for the victory over the last 300m, the battle for second saw World Cross champion, Emily Chebet (33:43.03) out-kicked Japan based Team Kyudenko runner, Sally Kaptich Chepyego (33:45.81) to clinch the other automatic berth for Moscow.
However, the two-time World Cross winner has not dipped under 31:45.00 A-Standard for the World Championships over the last two seasons that are considered for qualification meaning her Moscow dream was in tatters.
Having won the 10,000m race in Kobe this April in 32:00.02, Chepyego hang on to the leaders before surrendering second place at the last 200m but her place in the Kenyan senior team for the first time was assured courtesy of her 31:33.76 victory at the Japanese Corporate Championships last September.
“I have tried for so long to be in the Kenyan team and this time, my prayers were answered. I’m filled with so much joy and being in Japan has helped me improve my running style and today, it helped in a race where we had many champions,” the 2001 World Youth Champion in 3000m said.
“As a team, we should work hard to return the title that was won two years ago. This is a different year and if we work together, it is possible,” she added.
Caroline Cheptanui (33:52.34) finished just outside the podium ahead of 2009 World Champion, Linet Masai (34:10.02) but the latter stood a good chance of being selected to Moscow owing to her 31:02.89 season’s best in her sixth finish in Ostrava.
Like Chebet, Cheptanui has not managed to beat the Moscow qualifying time in the eligible period of qualification.