Africa pole vault bronze medallist, Caroline Cherotich, was on fire on Friday, shattering her own national record to retain the Kenya Defence Forces Athletics Championships title at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.

The 23-year-old Cherotich, who won bronze at the 2010 Africa Championships in Nairobi, cleared 3.15 metres to erase her previous record of 3.10m set last year during the national championships in Nairobi.

“Though there is little time, my ultimate dream is to represent Kenya at the London Olympic Games but if I don’t attain the mark, then Rio de Janeiro (Olympics) should expect me in 2016,” said Cherotich, who attributed her performance to her coaches, Algerians Leila Ben Youssef, Caroline Kola and Joseph Mosonik.

Leila is a former Olympian who won the Africa title in 2008 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Cherotich is out to attain Africa Championships qualifying mark of 3:50m before setting sights on the London Olympic Games distance of 3:80m.

Leila, who has been in the country for almost a year, and Kola were excited about Cherotich’s achievement.

“Her dedication and discipline in training makes her a phenomenal athlete. She can get better with better equipment,” said Leila, adding that while making to London is a tall order, Cherotich must be at the 2016 Summer Games in Brazil.

Leila said the four pole vaults they have been using in training are not enough and urged Athletics Kenya to provide them with at least 10 modern ones for use.

“The ones we are having are too short for the lanky Kenyan athletes. I believe Cherotich can become an African champion before the 2016 Olympics,” said Leila.

Kola said Cherotich can make it to Africa Championships in Benin next month. National champions David Kimutai and Grace Wanjiru won their 20km walk race events.

Kimutai, who is the 2006 Africa champion won his race in 1 hour 29.52 minutes, beating fellow Olympian Julius Sawe 1:34.21 and Daniel Parsaloi 1:35.08.

The 2008/2010 Africa champion Wanjiru claimed victory glory in 1:37.22, beating fellow international Emily Ngii 1:42.01.




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