Cheruiyot takes Berlin 5000m gold from Defar

Submitted by ATAF Editor on 23 August 2009 - 12:27am

Kenyans Vivian Cheruiyot and Sylvia Kibet relegated defending champion Meseret Defar of Ethiopia to third place in a sprint finish to the line in the women's 5000m finals at the 12th IAAF World Athletics Championships in Berlin.

Cheruiyot, a Kenyan Police detective and a silver medallist in Osaka 2007 World championships, led for much of the race but was overtaken by Defar with 150 metres to go to the finish.

But she did one better this time around, pushing forward on sensing the vulnerability of the Ethiopian, she and Kibet overtook the shell-shocked defending champion just before the line.

Cheruiyot's was Kenya's first ever gold medal in the women's 5,000m, a race that has been dominated by Ethiopians since Tirunesh Dibaba emerged in 2003 to take the gold in Paris.

Dibaba won the championship again in Helsinki (2005) but her dominance was ended by compatriot Meseret Defar who won the title in Osaka in 2007 with Cheruiyot settling for silver and Kibet finishing fourth behind bronze medallist Prisca Jepleting.

But last night roles were reversed with Cheruiyot and Kibet working brilliantly as a team to take the first two places in 14 minutes, 57.97 and 14:58.33 respectively, Kibet beating a tiring Defar at the line.

Cheruiyot told the media: "In Osaka I won silver and now I have the gold. I'm delighted.

"On my last 100 metres I was pushing so hard. I like fast races because if the race is not fast there can still be 10 athletes in the last lap at the same time. Anybody can win then with a good sprint."

"We had good teamwork and I'm happy to have won this medal for my country. I thank the Kenya Police force for giving us time to train and go for competitions," she added.