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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 
Timothy Cheruiyot proves his mettle,
eyes glory at Africa championships

By John Kwoba NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- It will take something special to wrest the Diamond Trophy away from World and Commonwealth Games 5,000m silver medalist Timothy Cheruiyot.

The Shanghai Diamond League champion in 1,500m proved he is on a different level as he strung together three wins in as many competitions in China, Eugene, USA and Rome. However, Cheruiyot says his best hopes lies in him winning the Africa Championships in Asaba, Nigeria in August.

“The Diamond League is a special but the target is to remain at the top and contest for a medal at the Africa Championships,” said Cheruiyot on Friday. “It feels nice to be the world number one and running a world lead time. But the focus should be on making it at the Africa championships. But in general am happy with another win.”

With only three meetings done out of the maximum seven, Cheruiyot leads the standings with 16 points ahead of Ethiopia’s Samuel Tefera 13, Charles Simwoto nine and World champion Elijah Manangoi is fourth with seven points.

The 22-year-old will hold on to the bragging rights as he won in 3 minutes 31.22 seconds, the fastest of the season so far. Cheruiyot finished well clear of his training partner Elijah Manangoi, who took gold to his silver in London last summer and finished in a season’s best time of 3:33.79. Ethiopia’s world indoor champion Samuel Tefara took third place in 3:34.84.

Kenya’s world and Olympic 3,000m steeplechase champion Conseslus Kipruto, surprisingly beaten by compatriot Benjamin Kigen at the Eugene Diamond League last Saturday, made sure it didn’t happen again in what was a non-Diamond League race, although it was a close run thing.

Kipruto pulled clear on the final lap to win in 8: 04.40, the fastest run so far this year, but Kigen maintained his rising reputation as he took second place in 8:10.01 despite a stumble at the last hurdle after which he looked briefly behind him before resuming his forward momentum. Ethiopia’s Chala Beyo was third in a personal best of 8:11.22.

“I need to reaffirm my position as champion and leader in steeplechase. Now we take out war to the national trials and see who makes the Kenya team to Africa Championships,” said Kipruto.

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EARLIER REPORT:

Kenyan Vivian  Cheruiyot targets Tokyo Olympic marathon before retirement

By John Kwoba NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- London marathon champion Vivian Cheruiyot of Kenya will only think of retirement after competing at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

Speaking from Eldoret on Thursday, Cheruiyot believes good planning and performance will be enough to secure her a slot in the Kenyan team and at the Olympics.

The 34-year-old remains confident she will continue her positive trajectory competing and winning at the big city marathons.

“I still view myself as novice in marathon. I have only run three races and the target is always to run in big cities and in the Olympics. I want to win the Olympic marathon,” said Cheruiyot.

Competitors at the Tokyo 2020 marathon will face a tough uphill finish as organizers said Thursday when they outlined the route, an additional challenge to heat that has already sparked concern.

Kenya has over 40 women who have run under two hours and 30 minutes, the cut mark for qualification to the Olympics and Cheruiyot will be among the many athletes who will have their names in the pot for the coaches to draw from.

Cheruiyot’s victory in London confirmed her pedigree as one of the top female marathon runners, ready to take over from veteran Edna Kiplagat and Mary Keitany.

Cheruiyot, with personal best of 2:18:31, now becomes the fourth fastest woman in marathon history after Radcliffe (2:15:25), Keitany (2:17:01) and Tirunesh Dibaba (2:17:56).

But she has to toughen up if she is to win in Tokyo in 2020 as organizers believe the change in course, especially the final climb would likely be decisive factor in deciding the winner of the race.

“I like to win. Like when winning the Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year in 2012 was one of the biggest highlights of my career,” she said.

           

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