Lack of teamwork hurts Kenya in Oregon

Monday, July 25th, 2022 05:32 | By
Beatrice Chebet. PHOTO/Courtesy
Beatrice Chebet. PHOTO/Courtesy

Newly minted World 5000m silver medallist Beatrice Chebet has given an evaluation of the women’s competition saying the gap at the top has been narrowed significantly.

Chebet said she will be back firmly to challenge for the gold when the biannual championships make a stop in Budapest, Hungary next year.

“On pure strength we are at par with our arch-rival (Ethiopians). I know I just need to work on my finishing sprint, then I will be able to go for gold,” disclosed the Kericho-based Chebet who is also the World Cross Country junior champion having struck gold in Aarhus, Denmark in 2019 and the 2018 World Under 20 champion in 5,000m race in Tampere, Finland.

“We are also need to have a conversation as a country about working together as a team. You saw what happened with Ethiopians, they worked together, chatting and plotting during the race, putting their country first.

“ I am not attacking my teammates but this is becoming a Kenyan thing across the different races,” the Africa champion gave a candid assessment.

Confidence and bravery

Chebet yesterday morning ran with confidence and bravery as she earned Kenya silver in the women’s 5,000m final at the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon.

The 22-year-old finished second behind Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay, timing a season’s best time of 14:46.75 with Tsegay winning her second medal in the Championships after winning silver in the 1500m, timing 14:46.29.

Ethiopia’s Dawit Seyaum sprinted home third for bronze in 14:47.36 while Margaret Chelimo came home fourth in 14:47.71, also a season’s best time for her.

Tsegay, a 1500m specialist was a huge beneficiary of the pedestrian pace in the race and it played in her favour as it reserved a lot of energy in her tank for a final lap dash.

With two laps to go, Hassan, the reigning Olympic champion sprinted to the front as she tried to kick in a bust of pace and open up the field, but the leading pack could not let her go alone.

At the bell, the Dutch lady kicked further but Chebet couldn’t let her open up a gap and Gidey followed suit. Slowly, she began fizzling away and Gidey kicked in her 1500m finishing pace, Chebet following her shadow.

She managed to put in a good gap in the final 50m to win the race as Chebet finished second. Behind them, the battle for third was on with Hassan fizzling away and it was Seyaum who came home for bronze.

Chelimo’s last dash of pace wasn’t enough but she managed to beat Letesenbet Gidey for fourth, the 10,000m champion finishing fifth. The other Kenyan in the race, Gloria Kite, finished 10th out of the 11 starting athletes.

With Kenya having won four gold medals in the last six World Championships in the women’s 5,000m with Vivian Cheruiyot winning in 2009 Berlin and 2011 Daegu, Chebet feels it won’t be long before lady luck strikes again.

“It is only a matter of time because we have talent, we just need to channel it well,” said Chebet.

During the 2019 Doha World Championships, Hellen Obiri won gold ahead of Chelimo while Konstanze Klosterhalfen from Germany took bronze.

Obiri reclaiming the title in 2017 London and retained it in 2019 Doha.

Obiri claimed silver in the 10,000m race in Oregon last weekend and opted not to defend her 5000m title.

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