Mercy Cherono (49) en route to setting a 4x1500m world record (© David Ogeka@PhotoRun)
Mercy Cherono produced an outstanding opening leg that got the ball rolling for a Kenyan quartet to set a women's 4x1500m world record* of 17:05.72 at Kenya’s national trials for the IAAF World Relays at the Nyayo Stadium in Nairobi on Saturday (26).
Also in the team was Irene Jelagat, Ann Karindi and Perin Nenkampi.
They took more than two seconds off the previous world record of 17:08.34, set by the University of Tennessee in 2009.
“We will submit the papers to the IAAF to apply for the record to be recognised since the last time our girls beat the world mark earlier this month, we did not have the required timing system, doping control and wind measurement in place,” said David Okeyo, the Athletics Kenya vice-president and meeting director.
He was alluding to the 17:08.17 ran by another Kenyan team on 5 April as hand timing was used on that occasion.
“Our aim will be to go to The Bahamas and bring back the gold medal and if we can run another record there, then it will be a dream,” said Cherono, who had earlier won the 1500m in 4:11.49, with Jelagat second in 4:12.27.
Reveling in the status as the stars of the show, Moscow 2013 champions Asbel Kiprop and Eunice Sum did not disappoint as they nailed down their places in the Kenyan squad for the IAAF World Relays next month.
“I would be delighted to win another gold medal for my country since competing for my nation at every opportunity is my motivation. With the squad we have, then a world record in the (4x1500m) relay is possible since we have all run under 3:32,” said Kiprop, who won a closely fought 1500m in 3:36.55 over Silas Kiplagat 3:36.68, Collins Cheboi 3:36.74 and Joseph Magut 3:36.85.
The quartet then banded together to win the 4x1500m in 14:54.77.
World youth 800m champion Alfred Kipketer showed impressive form winning over two laps of the track in a hand-timed 1:44.2, with Job Kinyor second in 1:44.6 and Ferguson Rotich third in 1:44.9.
It was ‘mother’ versus ‘daughter’ in the women's 800m time trial as Sum came up against her mentor, idol and training partner, 2007 world champion Janeth Jepksogei with the Moscow winner prevailing in a hand-timed 2:03.2 against 2:03.9.
“It is wonderful running with my daughter," said Jepkosgei. "Last year, I knew she could win the world title and now we will be going for another world title together."
“What makes this special is that I shall be in the same team with my mother in athletics as we try our best to bring glory to our country,” added Sum.
The inaugural IAAF World Relays will be held in The Bahamas on 24-25 May.
Mutwiri Mutuota (Capital FM) for the IAAF
*Pending usual ratification procedures
IAAF World Relays teams:
4x200m: Stanley Kieti, Said Ruto, Stephen Baraza, Boniface Khagai, Walter Moenga.
4x800m: Alfred Kipketer, Job Kinyor, Ferguson Rotich, Sammy Kirongo, Nicholas Kiplagat, Anthony Chemut.
4x1500m: Asbel Kiprop, Silas Kiplagat, Collins Cheboi, Joseph Magut, Hillary Maiyo, Nixon Chepseba.
4x800m: Eunice Sum, Janeth Jepkosgei, Sylvia Chesebe, Cherono Koech, Agatha Jeruto, Miriam Chepkemoi.
4x1500m: Mercy Cherono, Irene Jelagat, Anne Karindi, Peris Nenkampi, Sheila Chepng’etich, Faith Kipyegon, Hellen Obiri