Kenya’s Vivian Jepkemoi Cheruiyot executed a good tactical race as she stunned Almaz Ayana to win GOLD in the women’s 5000m at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Before the race Ayana was installed as the overwhelming favourite to win the race, especially considering how she obliterated the World Record (WR) in 10,000m earlier in the competiton to win GOLD.
However, Ayana proved that athletes are indeed not robots, displaying the human side after she got tired with two laps to go, allowing Cheruiyot to close in on her and stormed to an Olympic Record of 14:26.17
In fact it was a Kenyan 1-2 with Hellen Onsando Obiri running a Personal Best of 14:29.77 to win Silver, with Ayana settling for Bronze in 14:33.59, even hanging on to win that.
It was a tactical race which Ayana by her own standards didn’t calculate very well. With 8 more laps to go, Ayana went in front ahead of Miyuki Uehara as she felt the pace was too slow. However it proved to be her undoing as she gassed out earlier than she would have anticipated.
Ayana possibly had Tirunesh Dibaba’s 14:11.15 WR in sight which made her move so early on, thereby indirectly acting as a pacemaker for the three Kenyan ladies who were behind her.
At some point her legs were gone as she couldn’t push any further, but the earlier lead she had ensured that she definitely got on the podium. It might not have gone the way she would have wanted, but she will take delight know that she has two medals and will most definitely attack the WR one day.
For Cheruiyot, her win sees her become the first Kenyan woman in history to win the 5000m at an Olympics, and this comes on the back of winning Silver earlier in the 10,000m.