BY WILLIAM NJUGUNA
Commonwealth Games 5,000m champion Mercy Cherono is ready to face favourite world 1,500m record holder Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia in her specialty at the World Championships slated for Beijing in a fortnight.
Dibaba is the firm favourite for the 12-lap race and she is also running the 1,500m, where she recently set a new world record. Cherono said she is ready for any challenge at the global showpiece. “We all know she has been in good form but anything can happen and I have equally trained hard enough to challenge for gold come the world event,” she added.
Cherono lost to out to Dibaba in their only clash this season at the Diamond League meeting in Paris last month. Dibaba won the race clocking 14:15.41 with Cherono finishing a distant third in 14:34.10, about 20 seconds behind the Ethiopian. Cherono bounced back to win in London three weeks later in 14:54.81.
Cherono said she in good shape and will be seeking to build-up on the silver medal she won two years ago in Moscow at the last World Championships.
“I have not run too many races this year and I hope to build up on the silver I won in Moscow two years ago. I am in good shape,” she added.
She observed that team work will be vital as they face Dibaba an d fellow Ethiopians Almyaz Ayana, Gotytom Gebreslase and Senbere Teferi. She admitted Ethiopain line-up will pose the biggest threat in the 12-lap race.
Cherono said they are working on their finishing and altering their tactics as a team ahead of the battle. “Running at the World Championships and Grand Prix meeting is totally different. And this being a championship event, we must review our tactics and see what is best for us,” added Cherono.
She admitted that Dibaba is very strong in the final lap and revealed that their training has to focus on the finishing, especially in the final 400 metres. “She is a very strong finisher so the key will be to keep pace with her until the final sprint,” added Cherono.
Former world junior cross country champion Viola Kibiwott, Irene Cheptai and Janet Kisa are Kenya’s other entrants in the race. Kibiwott hopes her luck would improve after tumbling out in the heats eight years ago in the same stadium in the 1,500. “I’m taking it one step at a time because we must go through the heats. Once I get past the heats then I can look at podium position possibility,” added Kibiwott.
Courtesy of the-star.co.ke