2011 Women's 5,000m Final: Vivian Cheruiyot Completes The Double As Kenyan Women Get Medals #8 And #9

10k/5k Double Gold For Cheruiyot; Kenyan Women Grab Daegu Medals #8 And 9 As Defar Holds On For Bronze; Fleshman 7th

By LetsRun.com
September 2, 2011
Daegu, South Korea


Kenya's Vivian Cheruiyot finished a dominant 2011 with her second gold in Daegu, closing in a blistering 58 seconds for the final lap to win 5,000m gold in 14:55 over 2009 Worlds 5k silver medallist Sylvia Kibet and Ethiopian great Meseret Defar. American Lauren Fleshman, hanging on to the lead pack of Kenyans and Ethiopians until 550m to go, ran 15:09 for 7th, while American finalist Amy Hastings struggled midway through and ran 15th.

The race was not fast-paced until the final two laps when the top Kenyan and Ethiopian contenders started jockeying for position. The first 4 kilometer splits ranged between 3:02 and 3:07. As Sylvia Kibet would tell reporters after the race, the Kenyans anticipated a fast pace, presumably set by the dangerous Ethiopian contenders Defar and Sentayehu Ejigu, but this did not materialize. Adjusting their plans, Kibet then expected 10,000m world champion Vivian Cheruiyot to dictate the pace, accelerating from about 1,200m out to utilize her long kick. Cheruiyot controlled the race from 3,000m on, and controlled the final kick as well, never appearing in danger. At 600 to go, Cheruiyot ramped up the pace, separating herself convincingly in the last lap to win with a 58.6 final circuit. Kibet came on in the final meters to upend Defar, while Ejigu settled for fourth in front of Kenyans Mercy Cherono and 10,000m medallist Linet Masai.

Event Medals won by Kenyan women
Marathon Gold, Silver, Bronze
10,000m Gold, Silver, Bronze
5,000m Gold, Silver

3,000m SC

1,500m no medals
800m Janeth Jepkosgei runs Sunday evening

Kenyan women have now won 9 medals in 4 events at the World Championships (including 3 golds), a haul that, at this point in the championships, bests every other entire country with the exception of the United States and Russia. Their 3 golds are more than any other country in the world with the exception again of the USA and Russia. The Kenyan women medal haul at the end of day 7 can be seen in the table on the right.

Exact Same Finishing Order As 2009

The women's 5,000m was the exact same order of finish as in 2009, but in 2009 Defar was leading down the homestretch only to be passed by Cheruiyot. This time, Cheruiyot was the dominant athlete, and she is without a doubt the top female distance runner on the planet. In '09, Defar left the Worlds with only one bronze medal, but she was meters away from two gold medals.

Post-Race Reaction: Defar Said She Has Never Been In Better Shape When She Left Ethiopia, But Got Sick

Vivian Cheruiyot applies the pressure late in the women's 5,000m final
(photo from tracktownphoto.com)


Defar was the most disappointed athlete on the podium. While she offered praise to Cheruiyot, "Congratulations to Vivian, she is strong and she won," like in 2009, Defar cited an illness as a reason she did not win. In 2009, she had a sore throat. This time, after 22 hours of travel from Ethiopia, she said she had problems with the food that caused stomach problems. Apparently she was on antibiotics. She said, "Maybe the medicine (contributed) to me losing my power."

Defar did not regret attempting the double and said the goal was two golds. She said she did feel "comfortable" in the 10,000m but was ready to go for the 5,000m. And she said when she left Ethiopia she was in the best shape of her life: "I was in good shape. I've never been like this shape (I was in)."

The day belonged to Cheruiyot. There has been a changing of the guard in women's distance running from Dibaba/Defar to Cheruiyot. Cheruiyot however said she is not ready to attack Dibaba's 5,000m world record this year, "I do not think that a WR is still possible this year. I have only one more race coming up in Zürich ... Maybe the WR is possible next year."

Most important was the double gold for herself, for her family (she offered a lot of praise to her husband), and for Kenya.  "I am incredibly happy to be at this point as a double medallist."

Lauren Fleshman Reflects

Lauren Fleshman, eighth at the US Championships ended the night seventh in the world. It's been a whirlwind three weeks as she won in Crystal Palace and then got on the Worlds team when Desiree Davila opted not to compete. The veteran Fleshman reflected on her season after the race. She did not run a step until April 1st, but then purposely did not rush to return to fitness to get ready for the US Championships because she wanted to run faster later in the year. In the end she was rewarded with a spot in the final and she was with the leaders until they started battling for the medals.

QT1: What could Vivian Cheruiyot run for the 1,500? It's conceivable to think with a 14:20 PR and the ability to close a sub-15:00 5,000 in 28, she could be among the best women in the world.

QT2: American women have scored two medals at 10,000 in recent years, and we agree with Lauren Fleshman who said that the Americans need to get stronger, not faster, to do the same at 5,000. We also agree when she says that it's important to get in the right race at the right time.

LRC MB: another major blow to the Ethiopians!!

Medallists Press Conference After Vivian Cheruiyot's Double Gold

Defar Says She Has Never Been Fitter

Lauren Fleshman After Finishing 7th

Sylvia Kibet Silver Medallist


Lauren Fleshman near the lead early in the women's 5000m final
(photo courtesy tracktownphoto.com)


02 September 2011 - 20:25

Position Bib Athlete Country Mark
1 573 Vivian Jepkemoi Cheruiyot KEN 14:55.36
2 576 Sylvia Jebiwott Kibet KEN 14:56.21
3 343 Meseret Defar ETH 14:56.94
4 345 Sentayehu Ejigu ETH 14:59.99
5 570 Mercy Cherono KEN 15:00.23
6 583 Linet Chepkwemoi Masai KEN 15:01.01
7 937 Lauren Fleshman USA 15:09.25
8 344 Genzebe Dibaba ETH 15:09.35
9 181 Tejitu Daba BRN 15:14.62 (PB)
10 790 Yelena Zadorozhnaya RUS 15:15.48
11 838 Zakia Mrisho TAN 15:18.81 (SB)
12 383 Helen Clitheroe GBR 15:21.22
13 548 Hitomi Niiya JPN 15:41.67
14 756 Elizaveta Grechishnikova RUS 15:45.61
15 948 Amy Hastings USA 15:56.06


Intermediate Bib Athlete nat Mark
1,000m 548 Hitomi Niiya JPN 3:02.10
2,000m 790 Yelena Zadorozhnaya RUS 6:07.10
3,000m 573 Vivian Jepkemoi Cheruiyot KEN 9:10.97
4,000m 573 Vivian Jepkemoi Cheruiyot KEN 12:13.60



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