Kenya’s 5000m runner Kibiwott hungry for first medal at Worlds

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Nairobi, Aug 11 (IANS) In the 2008 Olympics, she was one of the rising stars in the 1,500 metres run, but Viola Kibiwott, then 24, failed at Beijing’s iconic Bird’s Nest Stadium as she could not get past the preliminaries.

Fast track to 2015 and a confident Kibiwott, now 31, is happy to have gained another opportunity to showcase her talent at the World Athletics Championships to be held between August 22 to 30 in the Chinese capital, Xinhua reported on Monday.

But unlike seven years ago, Kibiwott will not be competing in the four-lap race, but has moved up a gear and will be leading Kenya’s medal haunt in the 5,000 metres distance together with 2013 Worlds silver medallist Mercy Cherono, Janeth Kisa and Irene Cheptai.

Their hunt for gold will be checked by the Ethiopian quartet of world 1,500 metres champion Genzebe Dibaba, world bronze medallist Almaz Ayana, Senbere Teferi and Alemitu Hawi. Throw in American and Bahraini rivals and it becomes toxic.

“It is a big honour to compete in Beijing. It is one of the competitions that one has to be at their best in fitness to excel,” Kibiwott said on Monday.

“We did well as a team back in 2008 and I hope we will again excel there. The weather conditions in Beijing are almost similar to Kenya, and it will be hot and humid and we thrive in that condition. We will do well,” she added.

Beijing will not be the first world championships competition for Kibiwott. She made her debut in Osaka, Japan back in 2007 and has consistently won a slot in the team despite the choking competition in the Kenyan trials.

“That is why I opted to go up,” she said. “In 5,000m, it is not as competitive and quick; and if I can hold on to the final lap, then I will be able to surprise many. Now I have to deliver the medals.”

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