With Ethiopia’s Ayana in a different dimension the realistic target for rivals is the silver and bronze
Only a miracle can help Kenyans win gold in the women’s 5000m on Friday if Ethiopian Almaz Ayana’s current form is anything to go by.
While Vivian Cheruiyot is Kenya’s best bet for a medal in the event, she is obviously nowhere near Ayana in terms of form and will require spiritual intervention to topple the magical Ethiopia girl.
It will be suicidal for anyone trying to chase Ayana because she is in a different dimension as an athlete. That reduces the realistic medal targets for Kenya to silver, bronze or both in the final.
It happened in the women’s 10,000m, where Kenya’s Alice Aprot tried to pace Ayana for half of the race before the Ethiopian rocketed away.
Ayana starts as the gold favourite, especially after setting the 10,000m world record on the opening day of the athletics programme.
She is equally taking no chances in the 5,000m.
In the semi-finals Ayana obliterated a strong field which included Vivian and the fact that she will be the woman to watch in the final is not in doubt.
Other Kenyans in the race are Hellen Obiri, who won her semifinal heat and Mercy Cherono, who placed third in the same heat.
Obiri, the 2012 world indoor 3000m champion, has successfully moved up in distance this year after having spent most of her professional career running 1500m, the distance at which she was a finalist in London four years ago.
She won at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Eugene in a personal best of 14:32.02, the second fastest woman in 2016 among the entries, although she is almost 20 seconds slower than Ayana on current form.
Cherono was second behind Ayana in Rome in a personal best of 14:33.95 and, like Obiri, the 2013 world silver medallist has left the clear impression this summer that there is plenty of potential to do even better.
Vivian may have won the 10,000m silver on the opening day here in Rio but she has looked to 5000m in the past two years.
Outsiders for a place on the podium include Turkey’s European gold medallist Yasemin Can formerly Vivian Jemutai of Kenya and her predecessor as continental champion, Sweden’s Meraf Bahta.
Courtesy of the-star.co.ke