After failing to secure the 2014 Commonwealth Games ticket, London Olympics silver medallist, Sally Kipyego has set her sights on Beijing Worlds selection at the Trials that start at Nairobi’s Safaricom Kasarani Stadium on Friday.
Kiyego, who is returning from a foot injury that kept her out of the 2013 season, anticipates a tough race in the women’s 10000m final that has attracted a deep cast of stellar named led by double Daegu Worlds champion, Vivian Cheruiyot.
Also in the 25-lap Trial are World Half Marathon title holder Gladys Chereono who bagged silver in Moscow, World Cross champion, Agnes Tirop, former two-time World Cross winner, Emily Chebet, 2009 Berlin Worlds champion Linet Masai and Commonwealth silver medallist, Florence Kiplagat.
The race is the only distance final slotted for the opening day at 1pm local time (+3GMT) before Olympics champion and World record holder, David Rudisha lead the men’s 800m semis at 2:10pm.
Kipyego, who is based in Orgenon, USA believes Kenya stand a chance of reclaiming the title held by Ethiopian superstar, Tirunesh Dibaba who is out on maternity leave.
The 29-year-old who has a season best of 14:47.75 in 5000m from her home Diamond League meet of Pre Fontaine Classic in Eugene, missed the Moscow showdown after picking the injury as she powered to surprise silver at 2012 London Olympics.
“I’m fit and back in shape after a long layoff injury. I had a good run last year but unfortunately didn’t make it for the Commonwealth Games so I’m looking forward to compete on Saturday.
“I have prepared well, done a lot of work but this is Kenya, you never know what will happen, so I will just step onto the track and hope for the best.
“The Trials are always tough than the Championships because running 5000m ft above sea level is always a tricky equation,” the graduate nurse, who speaks in a fluent American accent told Capital Sport on the eve of her Trials.
Having been led to the altar by Cheruiyot for silver at the 2011 Worlds in Daegu, Kipyego aims at securing a top two finish that will automatically guarantee the Beijing ticket.
“Expect fireworks on Saturday because the Trials will feature a mixture of elite and upcoming athletes so I can’t single out anyone who is stronger. A lot of talent will be showcased,” Kipyego, who was born in Elgeyo-Marakwet County and is the sister to former steeplechaser and champion marathoner, Bernard Kipyego, added.
Her superb adaptation of the American accent is one of the obvious distinctions that sets her apart from her peers, as she has studied, trained and lived in the United States for the better part of the last eight years.
Kipyego, also graduated from the Texas Tech University with a nursing degree in another divergent trait from typical Kenyan female athletes, having taken her education as keenly as the quest for achievement in athletics.
She has resisted the urge to take up the stars and stripes of her second nation to stick with the red, green and black of her country of birth, notwithstanding the yawning ten-year gap between her first and second appearances in the Kenyan team after a string of failed attempts.
“I’m running for Kenya now. Changing citizenship is very complex, very personal at times. It does not have to do with patriotism like many people think. If you got a better job outside Kenya for you and your family, like a lawyer for example getting a job in London, what would you do? Immigration has to be personal and different people choose it for different reasons,” the philosophical athlete posited on the subject.
She has won four NCAA titles namely; the 3000m (9:02.05) and 5000m (15:27.42) Indoor double in 2007 as well as a maiden outdoor 10,000m title in 32:55.71 although the distance double attempt ended in a second finish (15:24.22) over 5000m.