By Isaack Omulo
ELDORET, Kenya (Reuters) - World champion Vivian Cheruiyot booked her ticket to Rio Games while Olympic silver medalist Sally Kipyego became the first major scalp in the two-day Kenyan Olympic trials which kicked off on Thursday.
Kipyego trailed in sixth position in the women's 10,000m, while Cheruiyot won the race in 31:36.40 after virtually running alone for eight laps with Betsy Saina in second (32:04.66) and Gladys Chepsir third in 32:17.13.
US-based Kipyego, who won the 2012 Olympics silver, admitted she managed a below-par performance at the Kipchoge Keino Stadium in this athletics-mad North Rift Valley town, some 350km north west of the east African nation’s capital Nairobi.
"Today wasn’t the best for me. Obviously, I wanted to make the team to Rio, but I was not physically there. I don’t know what happened, and I am disappointed," said the 30-year-old nursing graduate from Texas Tech.
"That is life. Sometimes you have a good day, sometimes you have a bad day, today happens to be the bad day. Tomorrow I will do morning run and continue with life.
"I just have to change direction and redirect my energies to something else, most likely to the roads and keep working hard," she said.
Cheruiyot, popularly known as the 'Pocket Rocket', will go for the 5,000m on Friday. She won bronze in 10,000m in London four years ago and silver in 5,000m.
"I am so happy for the win and I am looking forward to Rio. It will be competitive but I leave everything to God.
"I can’t say I will win Olympic gold, even though it is the most important medal missing from my collection, but I will prepare well.
"There is still time to train and I leave everything in the hands of God. Everybody is in good shape. We will plan with Betsy (Saina) and Alice (Aprot)," she said.
(Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)