Three years on after switching from 1,500m specialty to 5,000m, two-time world cross country junior champion Violah kibiwott believes she has finally found her place on the track.
Her 11-year participation in 1,500m returned minimal results for the athlete, who is now thirsty for her maiden international medal in the women’s 5,000m race at the Rio Olympics this August.
“I believe 5,000m is my race though I took long to realise and specialised in the 1,500m. Since venturing in the 5,000m, my performance has been growing and I believe the best is yet to come,” Kibiwott said.
She competed at the third leg of the IAAF Diamond League meetings in Rabat, where she placed second to Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana in a personal best time of 14:29.50. She followed this up with a 14:35.13 minutes clocking at the Eugene meet, where she also placed second, behind the winner Hellen Obiri and went ahead to place third at the Rome Diamond League leg last week.
“This season has been inspiring for me considering I have been able to lower my personal best. I have decided to settle for 5,000m and just hope for the best,” she said.
Kibiwott switched to 5,000m at the 2012 London Olympics but placed a poor seventh in 15:11.59. She was also lucky to fly Kenya’s flag at the 2013 and 2015 World championships in Moscow and Beijing, where she placed outside the medal bracket in 15:01.67 and 14:46.16 respectively. “For me, the improvement in time this season has been key and very inspiring for that matter,” she said.
She said she decided to quit 1,500m because she realised her body responded well to 5,000m. “I compared the two and realised my body responded well to the 5000m race and decided to switch after consultation with my coach,” said Kibiowtt who first represented Kenya at the 2000 IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Vilamoura, Portugal winning a bronze medal. She won gold the following year in the same event in Belgium.
“At the 2012 Olympics, I was lucky to have made Team Kenya. I placed tenth in London 2012 since it was my first internationally over the race after switching from 1,500m.
I am now more focused since then I have acquired the necessary skill and experience,” said Kibiwott, whose only gold in her 1,500m career came at the 2002 World Junior Championships in Kingston, Jamaica. She said her next hurdle would be to make the Rio Olympics cut before focusing on the summer games.