Women's 10,000 meter - Daegu Preview
Provided by IAAF
In 2005, Tirunesh Dibaba made her debut at 10,000m in June and went on to win the gold medal in the World Championships in Helsinki.
Six years later, Vivian Cheruiyot seeks to emulate Dibaba in winning the gold medal at the World championships 10,000 in the same year as her debut at the distance. In April, a week after she had won the World Cross Country title, Cheruiyot ran 31:07.02 in Pontevedra, Spain. Her only other race at the distance was the Kenyan trial, to make the team for Daegu.
That Cheruiyot is in great form is beyond doubt. In her most recent race, she won the 5000 at the DN Galan Samsung Diamond League in Stockholm, running a personal best 14:20.87. She is also the defending World champion at 5000m and will run that distance, but the 10,000m comes first on the opening night.
Cheruiyot wants to double in Daegu. To win the 10,000m, she will have to thwart the similar ambition of her teammate Linet Masai. The pair have already had two memorable races over Cross Country this year, Masai winning the Kenyan championship, Cheruiyot triumphant on the bigger stage of the World Cross Country at Punta Umbria.
The final composition of the Ethiopian squad is unclear at this point: the three named in the provisional squad were perennial minor placegetter Meselech Melkamu, Belaynesh Oljira and Tigist Kiros (first, third and fourth in Ostrava earlier in the year).
Since then, however, established star Meseret Defar has played her hands. Defar ran a 31:05.05 in Sicily and announced she wants to attempt the double in Daegu.
Whatever happens, the pendulum seems to have swung Kenya’s way. With Masai taking the 10,000m in Berlin two years ago, beating both Melkamu and Defar, and Cheruiyot the 5000m (again defeating Defar), and Kenya going 1-2 in the past two World Cross Country titles, the momentum has been largely one way.
Unless Cheruiyot and Masai cut each other’s throats, then, it seems likely they will fight out the gold in Daegu.
A third Kenyan, the US-based Sally Kipyego, sits atop the annual list with her 30:38.35 at Stanford in May. Kipyego is clearly a medal contender as is the fourth Kenyan (Masai uses her ‘wild card’ as defending champion), Priscah Jepleting Cherono.
Just behind Kipyego in Stanford, and on the annual list, is US World Cross Country bronze medallist Shalane Flanagan and Japan’s Kayoko Fukushi.
The USA has taken two bronze medals in the 10,000 of recent years, Kara Goucher in Osaka 2007 and Flanagan in the Beijing Olympic race. Both those two, and Jennifer Rhines, are running Daegu and will be in the minor medal hunt for sure.
Fukushi is not running in Daegu. Japan has pinned its hopes on the less experienced Kayo Sugihara (31:34.45 in Stanford) and 21-year-old Hikari Yoshimoto (31:45.82 this year, 31:30.92 in 2010) instead.
Len Johnson for the IAAF