Vivian Cheruiyot at the 2016 Kenyan Olympic Trials (© Getty Images / AFP)
Vivian Cheruiyot, the IAAF World Championships Beijing 10,000m champion, will chase a long distance double at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games after winning both over 25 laps of the track and then the 5000m at the Kenyan Olympic Trials in Eldoret on Thursday and Friday (30-1).
In warm and humid conditions, and in front of a packed audience at the Kip Keino Stadium estimated at around 25,000, Cheruiyot won the 10,000m comfortably on the first day in 31:36.60. US-based Betsy Saina was second in 32:04.83. Alice Aprot, who won the African 10,000m title last week in South Africa, did not take part but was given the discretionary third spot to go in Rio following her continental victory.
"“I’ve always yearned for an Olympic title. I shall do my best in Brazil, because an Olympic title is the only gold I am lacking in my medal cabinet,” Cheruiyot told local media after her first win.
Cheruiyot repeated her success on Friday in the 5000m, where she took an impressive victory in 15:01.60. With a 63-second last lap her closest competitor was Hellen Obiri in 15:13.45, while 2014 Commonwealth Games champion Mercy Cherono was a distant third in 15:25.51.
In the men’s 5000m, on the opening day, 2015 world championships silver medallist Caleb Ndiku clinched first place, clocking a hand-timed 13:37.2 with a 53.6 last lap, outsprinting 2013 bronze medallist Isiah Koech, who was second in 13:37.6 with Cyrus Rutto third in 13:39.1.
There was drama in the men’s 10,000m with the two favourites, 2015 world cross country championships gold and silver medallists Geoffrey Kamworor and Bedan Karoki, paying the price of tough racing conditions and dropping out: Kamworor with four laps to go and Karoki even earlier, just seven laps into the race.
Paul Tanui survived the heat - 30 degrees Celsius and with no shade from the sun - to win in 27:46.15 after taking the lead with one kilometre to go. Newcomer Charles Yosei, third in the African cross country championships earlier in the year, was the big surprise of the day and the 20-year-old finished second in 27:57.07 while African Championships silver medallist Wilfred Kimitei was third in 28:12.22.
In the 800m, London 2012 Olympic Games champion and world record holder David Rudisha was the fastest in Thursday’s heats with 1:43.4. However, in Friday’s final, after a 51.7 first lap, Rudisha was beaten to third by former world junior champion Alfred Kipketer, who won in a fast 1:43.73 with Ferguson Rotich second in 1:44.05. Rudisha’s third place in 1:44.23 was still enough to make the team to Rio and defend the title he won in London.
Former world champion Eunice Sum took the lead quickly in the women’s 800m and passed the first lap in 60.5. By 600m, reached in crossed in 1:29.1, Sum was still in front but was overtaken by 2014 world junior champion Margaret Wambui with 80 metres to go.
Wambui closed the race with ease, clinching the victory in 1:58.27. Sum dipped under the two minutes with 1:59.63 for second place while Winnie Chebet took the third spot in 2:00.16.
Kiprop and Kipyegon win 1500m titles with ease
In 1500m races, Asbel Kiprop and Faith Kipyegon won their respective finals in dominant fashion.
In the men’s side, the race started at a very conservative pace, the leaders passing 800m in 2:00.2 with Kiprop and Ronald Kwemoi at the back of the pack. With a lap to go, Elijah Manangoi and Timothy Cheruiyot decided to push the pace at the same time as Kiprop was putting himself into a good position.
With the leaders crossing 1200m in 2:58.2, Kiprop started to make his move and, with 250 metres to go, he never let anyone pass him again.
Finishing the last 300m of the race in 39.3, Kiprop won in 3:38.21. Elijah Manangoi was second in 3:38.48 – the same result as at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015 – while the fast-closing Ronald Kwemoi got third in 3:38.80.
In the women’s race, Faith Kipyegon ran away from the field on the second lap and ran a solo 4:06.71, leaving her compatriots Nancy Chepkwemoi and Viola Lagat to be content with second and third in 4:10.00 and 4:11.93 respectively.
World 3000m steeplechase champion Hyvin Kiyeng won her event easily in 9:28.33, taking the lead with one kilometre to go, while Beatrice Chepkoech, who led most part of the race and passed the first kilometre in an extravagant 3:00.0, finished a distant second in 9:41.87. Kenya national champion Lydia Rotich was third in 9:48.47.
The last event of the day, showed Brimin Kipruto, Conseslus Kipruto and Ezekiel Kemboi, booking their tickets in Team Kenya for Rio.
With the first kilometre of the men’s 3000m steeplechase passed in a fast 2:41.0, the leading pack was already down to six by halfway. Jairus Birech could not sustain the pace as he still felt some pain in his left leg after his fall at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Rome and dropped out with four laps to go.
The Kiprutos and Kemboi then detached themselves from the remaining trio slowly but surely. They even had the luxury to start talking to each other on the last lap, galvanizing the crowd and jogged the last 100 metres, finishing almost hand-in-hand with Brimin Kipruto taking the victory in 8:27.68 with Conseslus Kipruto and Kemboi second and third in 8:27.86 and 8:27.95.
Alphas Kishoyan won the men’s 400m easily in 44.96 but Beijing 400m hurdles finalist Boniface Mucheru was more pressed in his specialist event before winning in 48.89 with Kiprono Koskei second in 49.22. Reigning world champion Nicholas Bett did not run but was given the discretionary third spot on the plane to Rio.
The highlight of the men’s field events inevitably came in the men’s javelin with world champion 1. Julius Yego winning by more than six metres despite the relatively modest, for him, distance of 81.04m.
Kip Evans for the IAAF