Vivian Cheruiyot, our country’s most decorated female athlete finally bagged her first ever gold medal in the 5000 meters race. She clocked the race in 14:26.17 recording a Fresh Olympic record at the Olympic stadium in Rio. Cheruiyot has two silver and one bronze in previous Olympic Games, but in Rio her finesse earned her gold. “It was my fourth Olympic Games and I had not had gold” She said. A week ago on the 10,000m race, she scored silver and her heart had sunk in remorse. Her arch- rival from Ethiopia broke the world record and she was chasing a double gold like her compatriot Dibaba in the 08 event.
In a well-orchestrated strategy, Cheruiyot ran nip and tuck with her compatriot Hellen Onsando Obiri till the end, aiding her (Hellen) bag the silver medal in that race. Their nemesis would be Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana who earlier on denied Cheruiyot Gold in the 10,000m. The two Kenyans kept kicking hard and resting through the laps, testing the Ethiopian often. But Ayana had different a scheme, on the fifth lap; she pulled away and stretched close to 60m gap between her and the Kenyan ladies. The Kenyans ended up playing catch up but were wise enough on their energy reserves. Two laps to the end of the race, it was go time. They kicked as a unit easily catching up with Ayana who clearly was out of breath and overtook her. “I told Vivian lets go with two laps remaining and that’s when I knew unless one of us died on the track, 1-2 was ours for the taking. We kept talking throughout the race” Obiri narrated. A 1-2 swoop for Kenya and Olympic record came to be. Obiri’s silver medal came in handy as she recorded her personal best time of 14:29.
Cheruiyot at 32 says Rio will probably be her last Major event, “I’m so happy for me, my husband, my son, and my parents. This might be the last Olympics for me so I thought maybe God might give me gold.” Her prayers answered on the 5000m race; maybe she will try setting some record on 10,000m race before bidding the track goodbye.
We said earlier the hunt is on, the track and field gods are on our side. More to come stay tuned.