The 2018 London Marathon champion Vivian Cheruiyot is hoping to stretch her dominance to the Olympic Games when she makes her marathon debut at the Games to be held in Sapporo, Japan.
Cheruiyot is among the three women selected by Athletics Kenya (AK) to represent the country at the Summer Games alongside world marathon record holder Brigid Kosgei and world marathon champion Ruth Chepngetich while Sally Chepyego and Valary Aiyabei have been selected as reserves.
The 36-year-old is among the few athletes who have progressed from the junior level all the way to currently competing in road race having kick-started her career two decades ago when she competed at the 1998 World Cross Country Championships and finished fifth in the 6km junior race.
The athlete who hails from Keiyo South in Elgeyo Marakwet County would also compete in 3,000m while still at the junior ranks.
Before shifting to Marathon, Cheruiyot also known as ‘Pocket Rocket’ enjoyed massive success in track ruling the world in both 5,000m and 10,000m at the World Championships and Olympic Games.
The diminutive athlete bagged four gold medals at the World Championships between 2007 and 2015 including a double in 5,000m and 10,000m at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, South Korea.
At the Olympic Games, Cheruiyot made her debut in 2000 finishing a distant 14th in 5,000m.
In her second appearance in 2008, she ranked fifth in 5,000m before clinching silver and bronze in 5,000m and 10,000m respectively at the 2012 Olympics held in London, United Kingdom.
It is also the same year that she bagged the coveted Laureus Sportswoman of the Year Award.
The 2016 Games in Rio, Brazil presented yet another opportunity for Cheruiyot to write history as she agonisingly came close to clinching an Olympic double when she won gold in 5,000m and silver in 10,000m.
As she gears towards this year’s games albeit in a different territory, Cheruiyot believes her experience over the years will come in handy in Sapporo.
“First I really thank AK for selecting me in the team. It is my fifth Olympics but my first time to be selected in a marathon team and I want to assure you that we are going to do our best. It is however not my first time competing in a marathon race and thus I am confident I will do well,” said Cheruiyot.
Although Cheruiyot alluded that the trio will be working as a team, she revealed that her ultimate target at the Games is to bring home a gold medal.
“It is a very strong team and I know we will work together. I know everybody’s target is to win a gold medal and that shows you that I have to work hard in my training,” she said.
It is even more interesting that Cheruiyot will clash with Kosgei and Chepngetich at this year’s London Marathon slated for April 26 barely three months to the Olympics.
The veteran athlete will be looking to reclaim her 2018 title but will have to dethrone the in-form Kosgei who stunned her in last year’s race.
“My target is to run well in London. As you have seen the three of us will be meeting there which shows it will be very competitive. I am currently doing well in my training and I hope everything will go well,” said Cheruiyot.
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