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AK boss impressed by Cheruiyot confidence on Olympics gold

By Amos Abuga
Tuesday, February 4th, 2020
Vivian Cheruiyot.
In summary

In a generation where athletes are motivated by money and a desire to become famous overnight, Athletics Kenya (AK) boss Jack Tuwei is glad Vivian Cheruiyot followed a different path.

Tuwei is impressed by how Cheruiyot, popularly known as Pocket Rocket, has risen steadily from the junior ranks to succeed in cross-country, track and finally road races where she is now set to represent Kenya in the Tokyo Olympics in marathon. 

To Tuwei, the 36-year-old athlete, who got her career going at the 1998 World Cross Country Championships, truly exemplifies perfection in the sport.

Together with world marathon record holder Brigid Kosgei, world marathon champion Ruth Chepng’etich as well as reserves Sally Chepyego and Valary Aiyabei, AK believes they can finally bring that elusive Olympic marathon gold to Kenya. 

“Vivian is in a class of her own. In my opinion, she will go down as one of the best ever athletes in this generation. Besides Eliud Kipchoge in the men’s category, she is exceptional,” said Tuwei.

He added: “It will be extremely difficult to get these kinds of athletes in future. Young kids rushing to the lucrative road races is the reason longevity in athletics is dwindling.”

“In the athletes we have chosen there is big chance we are going to defend our title from four years ago,” said Tuwei in reference to the gold medal won by Jemimah Sumgong in the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, before she was stripped off a few weeks later and handed an eight-year doping ban. 

Cheruiyot has three gold medals in cross-country, four at World Championships and finally struck gold in the Rio Olympics before quitting the track to run marathons where she has already won in London and Frankfurt besides finishing second in New York.

That gives her confidence, heading into this year’s games. “Growing up, that was my dream.

To represent my country in all the levels. In my sunset years, I am extremely happy that I have been able to tick all the boxes,” said the athlete, who hails from Keiyo South, Elgeyo Marakwet County.  

She added: “I don’t take it for granted that I have been selected. Looking back, I don’t think I could be standing here awaiting my fifth Olympics.”