Beatrice Chebet sets sights on double gold at Paris Olympics after breaking world record

Freshly-minted world 10,000 metres record holder, Beatrice Chebet, has set herself an ambitious target of competing in both the 25-lap race, and women’s 5,000m at the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

On Saturday night, May 25, the 24-year-old world cross country and world 5,000m champion broke the world record in women’s 10,000m by seven seconds at the Prefontaine Classic Diamond League at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, in USA.

She became the first woman to run the race in under 29 minutes when she shattered Ethiopian runner Letesenbet Gidey’s world record of 29 minutes, 01.03sec from June 8, 2021 in Hengelo, the Netherlands with a blistering new time of 28:54.14.

This is the second world record that Chebet, who is also the Commonwealth Games 5,000m champion, is breaking inside a year.

Chebet brought down the 5km world record (women-only) on the road after clocking 14:13 at the Cursa dels Nassos road race in Barcelona, Spain on December 31, 2023.

“I am going to double in the two races in Paris but my target is to run the 5,000m first, then the 10,000m ,” Chebet told Nation Sport on Saturday. It was her first victory over 10,000m in a race held outside the country and her second ever over the distance.

“I’m particularly happy to run a world record here at the Prefontaine Classic,” explained Chebet, who produced the best last kilometre of two minutes and 47 seconds on her way to rewriting women’s 10,000m history books on track.

Even though Athletics Kenya was using the race to pick its team for the Paris Olympic Games, the focus was on Ethiopia’s world 10,00m champion Gudaf Tsegay, who had called for a world record pace at the race.

Things turned bad for Tsegay, the 5,000m world record holder as Chebet, the world 5,000m bronze medallist turned on the screws.

“The last lap just motivated me, especially when Gudaf dropped off. I then realised I had a good chance of winning and I took it,” said Chebet. She took up the challenge to go toe-to-toe with Gudaf, who had requested a world record pace.

“I decided to keep pace with her so as to see how I would respond. My body responded well then I decided to go to the end,” Chebet, who thanked her management Rosa Associate, her coach Gabriel Kiptanui and everyone at home for their great support, said.

Chebet also shattered the national record of 29:32.53 held by Vivian Cheruiyot from the 2016 Rio Olympics Games.

Tsegay and Chebet treated fans to thrilling moments as they battled at the front to stay ahead of the green wave light that indicated the world record pace by two metres. Chebet dropped Tsegay with 1,000m to go to win.

Seasoned road runner Daniel Mateiko won men’s 10,000metres race ahead of world 5km bronze medallist Nicholas Kimeli to second place.

Mateiko won in a world lead and personal best time of 26:50.81 as Kimeli also set personal best 26:50.94 to all claim the Paris Olympic tickets.

Bernard Kibet came third also in personal best 26:51.09 in a race where six athletes ran under the Olympics standards of 27 minutes.

However, world 10,000m silver medallist Daniel Simiu came a distant eighth in 27:24.33 and can only bank on selectors for a node in the team for Paris Olympics.

Kenya is yet to win the men’s 10,000m title at the Olympics since the late Naftali Temu’s exploits at the 1968 Mexico City Games.

The country has yet to win in women’s 10,000m since the race debuted at the Summer Games in 1988 Seoul. Sally Kipyego (2012 London) and Vivian Cheruiyot (2016 Rio) claimed silver medals as the best performers.

Other Kenyans – world 800m champion Mary Moraa and Beatrice Chepkoech – finished second in their respective 800m and 3,000m steeplechase races.

Moraa clocked season’s best 1:56.71 but lost to Olympic Games silver medallist Keely Hodgkinson, who set a world lead of 1:55.78.

Chepkoech, the winner in Xiamen and Shanghai, timed 8:56.51 to lose to Olympic champion Peruth Chemutai from Uganda in a world lead and national record of 8:55.09.

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