Kenyan women go 1-2 in the 5,000-meter final.
Written by: David Monti
(c) 2011 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permisison.
DAEGU — Kenya’s Vivian Cheruiyot became the second woman to win gold medals in the 5000m and 10,000m at the same IAAF World Championships when she crossed the finish line first in the 5000m in Daegu Stadium here tonight in 14:55.36. Cheruiyot, 27, also successfully defended the title she won at these championships in Berlin two years ago.
“It’s so amazing because to be the second one to win the two races after (Tirunesh) Dibaba, it’s something which comes once a life,” Cheruiyot said. “I’m really happy.”
Cheruiyot, and teammate Linet Masai, controlled the pace of the race from 2400 meters to the finish. The race began with a quick 71-second opening lap by Japan’s Hitomi Niiya, but soon settled down to a pace slower than three minutes per kilometer. Cheruiyot, with Ethiopia’s Sentayehu Ejigu and Meseret Defar in tow, hit the 3000m mark in a sluggish 9:19.97, setting up furious dash for the medals in the final two laps. Cheruiyot was leading at the bell, and her 58.7 second final lap was just too much for her rivals to match.
“Because I was the defending champion I should repeat the same thing,” Cheruiyot said. “Before three laps (to go) I was feeling comfortable because my shape was good. If someone was going to come and kick all the way to the last, I was pushing and pushing.”
Cheruiyot’s teammate, Sylvia Kibet, and Ethiopia’s Meseret Defar finished second and third, the same positions they occupied on the podium at the 2009 edition of these championships. Masai finished sixth. Defar said she had been sick since arriving in Daegu, and her voice sounded weak.
“I take medicine for my stomach, and maybe it makes me lose my power,” Defar offered.
In the women’s 800m semi-finals, defending champion Caster Semenya advanced to Sunday’s final by winning the third heat in the fastest time of the day, 1:58.07, off of a modest 59.57 first 400 meters. Semenya did not speak to the press.
Also advancing were medal favorites Mariya Savinova of Russia, Janeth Jepkosgei of Kenya, Alysia Montano of the United States, and Kenia Sinclair of Jamaica. Sinclair became the first Jamaican woman to reach an 800m final at a world championships.
“I know I’m in better shape than 1:58,” Sinclair said after running 1:58.93 and taking the last of two time qualification spots for the final. “I can’t focus on my competition. I have to focus on myself.”
Britain’s Jenny Meadows, the bronze medalist from these championships two years ago, was eliminated when she finished third in the first heat, passed by American Maggie Vessey in the homestretch.
“I am a little bit in shock that I didn’t make the final but I’ve just got to accept there were eight better girls than me on the day,” Meadows said.
Middle distance action continues here tomorrow with the men’s 1500m final featuring Kenya’s Asbel Kiprop and New Zealand’s Nick Willis, the gold and silver medallists from the 2008 Olympics.