Race to Victory: The Women's 10,000m

The battle lines are drawn between Ethiopia and Kenya at Friday night's Women's 10,000m



by Alison Hamlett

Vivian Cheruiyot
Kenya's Vivian Cheruiyot on her way to double gold at the IAAF World Champs in Daegu, 2011. Picture credit: Mark Dadswell/Getty Images.

The women’s 10,000m at the London Olympics on Friday 3rd August at 21:25 is likely to be easier to predict than the men's race the night after, but no less exciting. The woman to beat is Kenyan phenomenon Vivian Cheruiyot. Her form coming into Olympic year couldn’t have been better. She set a personal best over 10,000m last summer at the World Championships in Daegu when she finished in 30:48.98. Her teammates Sally Kipyego and Linet Masai finished second and third respectively to make it a Kenyan clean sweep.

Cheruiyot also won gold at the 5,000m in Daegu, prompting governing body Athletics Kenya to select her for both the 5,000m and 10,000m at the London Games. It was an unprecedented vote of confidence, but it could prove risky: she may be double world champion, but Cheruiyot has never performed well at the Olympics.

At her debut in Sydney in 2000 she finished last in the final of the 5,000m and at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, she finished 5thin the 5,000m final but based on her form in 2011, she’s definitely the hot favourite. And with so many of the world’s best female distance runners hailing from Kenya, the competition – and standard – is likely to carry on improving.

If fact, you fancy a flutter, there’s no better bet at the London Olympics than a woman running in a Kenyan vest. Kenyan women took eight of the nine possible medals in the distance running events of 5,000m, 10,000m and marathon in Daegu. Ethiopia managed to grab a single solitary bronze in the 5,000m thanks to the efforts of Meseret Defar. 

On the next page: The runners who could upset a Kenyan clean sweep.


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