Olympics: After ending 16-year-wait for gold, Cheruiyot turns to marathon

Sports Saturday 20/August/2016 17:11 PM
By: Times News Service
Olympics: After ending 16-year-wait for gold, Cheruiyot turns to marathon

Rio de Janeiro: After a 16-year-year wait, Kenya's multiple world champion, Vivian Cheruiyot finally lived her dream on Friday to win Olympic gold, then announced she would switch to road racing.
Cheruiyot, holder of four world titles in 5,000m and 10,000m, and who returned from maternity leave last year to clinch the world double in Beijing, beat Ethiopian Almaz Ayana to a surprise 5,000m Olympic gold medal in the Olympic Stadium.
She led a Kenyan one-two for a country's first Olympic victory over the distance in 14:26.17, breaking the Games record.
Former world indoor 3,000m champion, Helen Onsando Obiri, took silver, with Ayana, who tried to set a fast pace as she did with the 10,000m last Saturday, having to settle for bronze.
"I have been waiting for this moment for so long, from 2000, 2008 and 2012. Finally I have won the Olympic gold. I now believe that one should never lose hope," Cheruiyot, 32, said.
She went to the London Olympics four years ago as a hot favourite for a double gold, but was disappointed to return home with 10,000m silver and 5,000m bronze.
"Now that I have achieved my dream, this will be my last track event," she said, though she added she intended to defend her world title in London next year."
"I am moving to marathon and I will be running in the Newcastle Half-Marathon next month to prepare for the London marathon next year," said Cheruiyot.
"I did not believe that I could beat Ayana. Before the race, I knew she was going to win, but Helen Obiri told me she is not unbeatable.
"We saw her during the 10,000m and something was not right with her today. She was not running smoothly. We said if she does 66 seconds per lap, we would do 68 and remain behind her.
"When we confirmed she was struggling, I told Helen to attack, and I would follow. I saw the gap closing, then I said if I close this gap I would not let go," Cheruiyot said.
"At the bell, I asked myself am I dreaming or it is real? With 100m left, I believed it and was elated that I was winning the ultimate medal."
The athlete said stopping to have a baby helped her.
"I would like to urge athletes not to fear maternity. Helen also went on maternity leave and returned to win this silver," she said.