World champ Cheruiyot dreams of doubling up at Olympics

Eldoret (Kenya), Jan 4 (IANS) World 10,000 metres champion Vivian Cheruiyot says she will make another double attempt at this year’s Rio Olympics.

Cheruiyot achieved double glory in the South Korean city of Daegu back in 2011, winning the 10,000m and 5,000m races but failed to repeat the same at the 2012 London Games and had to settle for silvers in both the categories, reports Xinhua.

Cheruiyot said she wants to prove her critics wrong in Rio and has started preparations to double up in the Olympics.

“I feel strong and focused on the task ahead, which is to double in the two races. I have the strength and stamina to weather the storm and win,” she said.

In London, Tirunesh Dibaba and Sally Kipyego (10,000m) and Meseret Defer (5,000m) denied her gold, but she believes in 2016 she will get her revenge and get the only medal missing in her illustrious career, an Olympic gold.

“I can do it. It is possible to win in Rio if all goes well in training and I get the support of my colleagues. But that is dependent on the coaches and Athletics Kenya (AK) agreeing to enter me into events,” she said.

Head coach Julius Kirwa, however, has played down the prospects of Cheruiyot doubling, saying it will not be possible because the events are challenging and it will drain her completely.

However, the two events are well split with 10,000m final coming on August 12 while 5,000m Round 1 is four days later while finals are set for August 19.

The 31-year-old bypassed the defence of her global 5,000m and 10,000m titles in Moscow three years ago to give birth to her son, Allan Kiprono, in October 2013.

Having returned to training in June 2014, Cheruiyot and her husband and coach Moses Kiplagat made the decision not to bid for a place on the Kenyan team going to the World Cross Country Championships in Guiyang, China, back in March and instead focus their attention on competing in the longer event in Beijing.

She was repaid by reclaiming gold and now wants to double her glory in Rio.

“My shape is improving every day and I know I have the capacity to hold out any challenge,” she added.

Cheruiyot became the second athlete, after Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba, to win multiple medals in the women’s 10,000m at the World Championships. Her coach Kiplagat believes that her loss in London will be repaid in 2016 Rio.

Kenya plans to send over 50 track and field athletes to Rio, hoping to improve on their last medal haul attained in London of 11 medals (two gold, four silver, and five bronze), being the most successful African country at the Olympics.

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