Women's 5000 meter - Daegu Preview

Women's 5000 meter - Daegu Preview

Provided by IAAF


Vivian Cheruiyot, two years after demolishing Ethiopian dominance over 5000m at the three previous Championships, is brimming with confidence about defending her title in this year's race.


Cheruiyot since using her tremendously strong finishing kick to outpace fellow Kenyan Sylvia Kibet but much more importantly defending champion Meseret Defar in Berlin's historic 1936 Olympic Stadium, has grown in stature following that victory.


The 27-year-old after that memorable victory which finally indicated her country was finally getting to grips with their northerly neighbours exceptional strike force led by World record holder Tirunesh Diababa and Defar, has added last year's IAAF/VTB Bank Continental Cup, Commonwealth Games and the overall Samsung Diamond League titles to her scrapbook of memorable victories.

Cheruiyot away from the track also showed her vast versatility and strength when beating training partner Linet Masai for this year's IAAF World Cross Country crown before embarking on a summer's campaign which sees her proudly sitting again at the top of the Samsung Diamond League 5000m overall rankings.

Significantly her latest victory at the DN Galan leg in Stockholm saw her send out a message to the 2007 champion Defar and her other rivals in Daegu that she is in the best form of her life.


Cheruiyot around the track of another Olympic Stadium which since hosting the 1912 Games has continued to thrill spectators with some of the world's greatest athletics achievements, produced a flawless performance there on 29 July.

Thirty two days before she will line up for her 5000m heat in Daegu with the final three days later on 2 September, her tiny frame unassisted for the last seven circuits, flew around a very windy arena in a spectacular Kenyan record time of 14:20.87.

Only Dibaba - not scheduled to face her in Daegu - and Defar have ever run quicker and Cheruiyot is adamant but for the gusts bouncing her tiny frame from side to side she would have lived up to her pre-race expectations of smashing the former's World record of 14:11.15 set three years ago in Oslo.

"But for the conditions I thought I could, I'm sure it will come," Cheruiyot insisted after the fourth fastest performance ever over the distance which improved her previous National record of 14.22.51 achieved behind Defar when she preceded Dibaba as world record holder with her 16:16.63 win at the 2007 Bislett Games also in Oslo.


Cheruiyot who expressed her self belief that she can also run and not in the not to distant future under 14 minutes, added: "But now it is time to go home to prepare for the defence of my World title. I want to run something special in Daegu."

Whether that means she is after smashing Dibaba's world mark is questionable. Her win in Berlin albeit in a tactical race saw her cross the line in 14:57.97 - the second slowest in the Championships eighth staging of the distance which replaced the 3000m in 1995.

Defar, another tough cookie from the shared African continent, is unlikely to be concerned that Cheruiyot has ran nine seconds quicker than the season's best time of 14:29.52 which saw her steer clear of her own fellow countrywoman Sentayehu Ejigu who recorded 14:31.66 at the Paris SDL meet on 8 July.

Indeed the pair of Ethiopians along with former IAAF World Junior Cross Country champion and reigning World junior champion Genzebe Dibaba - the younger sister of Tirunesh the 2003 and 2005 gold medallist - such is their pedigree, will be eager to fetch Cheruiyot down a peg or two and determinedly make her eat her words.  

So too will Kenya's Linet Masai, runner up for a third time at the World Cross Country Championships. The reigning 10,000m title holder like Cheruiyot is doubling up with the longer race's final on the opening night of 27 August. Win or lose she will be a contender when turning her attention to the 5000m where she boasts a personal best of 14:31.14 and in May at the Shanghai SDL meet ran 14:32.95 behind Cheruiyot and Ejigu.

With not a single non-African athlete in the world top-10 it seems unlikely any will be seen standing on on the podium since Spain's Marta Dominguez finished runner up behind Dibaba in 2003.

David Martin for the IAAF