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Vivian Cheruiyot And Edna Kiplagat Leads A Clean Sweep Of The Medals

Daegu, Korea, August 27th 2011 – Kenya’s women ended day one of the World Championships just as they had started it, Vivian Cheruiyot leading a clean sweep of the medals in the 10,000m just as Edna Kiplagat had done in the Marathon.

Indeed, the track distance women went one better. As Linet Masai was defending champion, Kenya had four starts in the 10,000m and they finished 1-2-3-4, matching the feat of Ethiopia in the women’s 5000m and the USA in the men’s 200, both at Helsinki 2005.

Cheruiyot is the defending champion in the 5000m, so she has a great chance to do the double in Daegu. Kenya could likewise go 1-2-3-4 all over again. She has had a wonderful year, starting with her victory in the World Cross-Country in Punta Umbria, Spain, and now perhaps heading to a marvellous climax in Daegu.

The new champion made her debut at 10,000m a week after the World Cross-Country and qualified for the Kenyan team by winning the national championship (Masai ran the 5000). In winning the world 10,000m in here debut year at the event she has matched 2005 and 2007 gold medallist Tirunesh Dibaba who performed the same feat in 2005.

Sally Kipyego, another Kenyan revelation this year after a long US collegiate career, took the race up to her better-credentialed teammate over the closing stages, but Cheruiyot had the closing speed. A 61-second final lap took her to a 30:48.98 victory, with Kipyego almost 10 metres behind in 30:50.04.

Masai, who at one stage looked as if she might finish fifth, rallied to take the bronze medal in 30:53.59 with Priscah Cherono fourth in 30:56.43.

Ethiopia’s Meselech Melkamu, always a contender but never a senior winner in the big races, finished fifth in 30:56.55. Masai had exchanged words with her during the race when the Ethiopian got too close.

Melkamu was less than a step behind Cherono, taking fifth in 30:56.55.

Beijing 2008 bronze medallist Shalane Flanagan of USA was the first non-African finisher in seventh place, one ahead of Portugal’s Ana Dulce Felix.

Indeed, for the first lap or two we were treated to a wondrous sight as Flanagan and her US teammates Jennifer Rhines and Osaka 2007 bronze medallist Kara Goucher ran in a line in the lead in a manner usually seen by African distance runners.

It was not to last, of course. At that stage, Masai was dead last in the field of 18, Cheruiyot a few places in front of her and Defar, who perhaps did not know which Kenyan to shadow, stuck uncomfortably in between.

The race took on its final complexion just past the 3000 metres point when Masai ran around the field to take the lead. With her languid stride eating up the ground, got progressively faster, bringing the pace down from 75-76 per lap to 73-74. The first 5000 was covered in 15:47.04 (the second in 15:01.94).

From that point on it was basically all Kenya. Melkamu and Defar hung on until Defar dropped off approaching 8000 metres and out of the race a little later.

Flanagan and Bahrain’s Shitaye Eshete (who finished sixth) were dropped by a 71.59 18th lap – fastest of the race to that point – led by Masai.

From that point on, it was merely a matter of which Kenyan would miss out on a medal though Melkamu’s brave fight meant they had to run hard all the way to the finish.

On day one in Daegu, making the Kenyan women run hard all the way to the finish was the only small victory for the rest of the world.

Len Johnson for the IAAF

Could Kenya have asked for anything better? Six medals were at stake on the opening day of the IAAF World Championships in Daegu and all will make the 10,070 kilometre journey back to the east African distance powerhouse.

In two stunning performances some nine hours apart, six Kenyan women covered just under 157 kilometres in all en route to podium sweeps in the morning’s Marathon and this evening’s 10,000m, a historical milestone that won’t easily be topped. Adding insult to their challengers’ proverbial injury, they took spot No. 4 in the 10,000m as well, a first 1-2-3-4 finish ever in the event.

Morning Marathon sweep…

Prior to this morning, Kenya had won a total of three medals in the women’s Marathon at all World Championships combined, all courtesy of two-time winner Catherine Ndereba. By 11:30 this morning that number had doubled.

The victory went to strong pre-race favourite Edna Kiplagat, last November’s winner in New York, who crossed the finish unchallenged in 2:28:43. Even a tumble and fall at a water stop with team-mate Sharon Cherop in the 37th kilometre – Cherop would later take bronze — couldn’t stop Kiplagat, who covered the second half in under 1:12, nearly five minutes faster than the first. She was 17 seconds ahead of Priscah Jeptoo, who in turn was 14 in front of Cherop.

How memorable was their achievement? No nation has ever swept the medals at a World Championship or Olympic Games in the event. Prior to this morning, none has managed a 1-2 finish. But this was just a warm-up.

.. and 1-2-3-4 (!) in the 10,000m

Team Kenya looked strong on paper coming into Daegu, but there were a few question marks – those were quickly answered and thrown aside about an hour after a capacity crowd of 44,618 enjoyed a sensational opening ceremony.

This time it was Vivian Cheruiyot’s turn to lead the juggernaut, taking a commanding victory in 30:48.98, a personal best. Crossing the line with a wide toothy grin, the 27-year-old seemed to be thinking that the more difficult half of her double ambition went off without a hitch. International newcomer Sally Kipyego looked strong with her silver medal run, with defending champion Linet Masai rounding out the trio. Priscah Cherono sealed the deal with her fourth place finish, 0.12 ahead of Ethiopian Meselech Melkamu, the African record holder.

The Kenyan quartet’s awesome feat was just the third in Championships history: Ethiopian women took the first spots in the 5000m and American men in the 200m, both in Helsinki six years ago.

Bob Ramsak for the IAAF


2 Responses

  1. It is very odd that the article makes no mention of Defar’s collapse or of Dibaba’s nonappearance.

  2. […] Vivian Cheruiyot And Edna Kiplagat Leads A Clean Sweep Of The Medals (ladyenews.wordpress.com) […]

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