The Women’s 10,000 meters, by Justin Lagat
The Kenyan Trials are on! This is the story on Day 1 from Justin Lagat. Once I land in the US (heading to SFO), will post the day two story.
Day 1 of the Kenyan trials at the Safaricom Kasarani Stadium, Nairobi, by Justin Lagat
Vivian Cheruiyot, Betsy Saina and Joyce Chepkurui were the first track athletes to make the team to the world championships today in hot weather conditions that not only saw athletes sweating profusely, but even the journalists themselves also sweating as they interviewed them.
Like is has become typical of the women long distance track races of late, the women 10,000m race started out quite slowly, but kept on picking pace until other athletes started to drop out of the leading pack, one at a time.
Joyce Chepkurui was at the lead during the first stages of the race before Pauline Korikwang switched gears and led the pack at a faster pace, but soon faded back into the pack and Betsy Saina came to the front for a while before Joyce Chepkurui again came back to resume the lead. All the while, Vivian Cheruiyot was running conservatively, just making sure that she was in the leading pack waiting to pounce in the last lap. With less than six hundred meters to go, Betsy Saina surged forward as they approached the bell and continued to accelerate as Vivian, Gladys Chesir and Joyce followed closely. With two hundred meters to go, Vivian Cheruiyot engaged a strong kick that could not be matched by the rest of the field. I heard someone close to me mutter, “That is the Vivian we know!”
The 2011 double world champion cruised to the finish line in 32.58.4, Saina came second in 32.59.2, Joyce was third in 33.00.1 and Gladys Chesir took fourth in 33.00.9
Betsy Saina on the final lap, photo by Justin Lagat
Vivian expressed her happiness at having made the Kenyan team and said that she has a strong desire to go out and win the gold medal for Kenya in Beijing. She was also glad that the conditions were hot in today’s race. “I believe that the conditions in Beijing will not be cool and the hot weather here served to prepare me to run well there,” she said.
On the other hand, Betsy Saina was literally radiating with joy. I think I actually felt some kind of waves emanating from her as I saw her cross the finish line and also, shortly after as she spoke to the press. “I am so excited. This will be my first time to represent my country at a major world championship event,” beamed the elated Saina.
Other highlights of the day included the men’s 800m semi- finals in which David Rudisha and Ferguson Rotich featured. The finals of this event will be the last one in the program tomorrow. Other events that happened were the finals of the men/women 20km walk, men High Jump, men Triple Jump, men/women 100m and women 100m H. The rest of the other events will be direct finals.
The first day of the Kenyan trials was exciting. It was great meeting and interacting with many athletes, journalists and fans. I can only imagine that if the fans that were here inside the Kasarani stadium today will go out and tell their friends about the action that was here, and that this was just but an appetizer of what is to happen tomorrow, then more fans are likely to attend and given that it will be a weekend and many finals will be taking place, I expect to see a packed stadium tomorrow.
Julius Yego was part of the spectators today, but he will be featuring in the Javelin Throw event and will be one of the many athletes that many fans will be looking forward to see them in action.