Purity Cherotich Rionoripo of Kenya wins the Girls' 3000m (Getty Images) © Copyright
Purity CHEROTICH Rionoripo (1500m/3000m/3000m Steeplechase/Cross)
Born: 10 June 1993, Chepapten village, Kaptabuk, Rift Valley Province
Coach: Geoffrey Thormos
Manager: Federico Rosa
Training Camp: Iten
Sixth born in a family of nine
Attends Kaptabuk Primary School (Standard 7)
“I wish to be number one in Poland this year, that is my prayer to God,” had stated Purity Cherotich, who is carving a name for herself while still a primary school pupil, before 2010 Bydgoszcz World Cross in March.
Well, that prayer from one of the softest spoken, humble young bundles of talent was only seven seconds short of being answered in entirety, but the Almighty still blessed the Kaptabuk Primary pupil with the silver medal.
Like everyone in the field on that day, the searing front running deployed by teammate, Mercy Cherono (18:47 against 18:54), spurred on to her dominating performance by missing the top medal in 2009, humbled Cherotich.
The silver did not come easily for the likable Cherotich, since she had to battle another teammate, Esther Chemtai (who opted to run barefooted in the frenetic dash to the tape) before securing the runner-up medal by a second.
“Cherono was very strong that day and managing to win silver with Chemtai so close to me was a good result for me. The experience was great and it is one competition I will always want to compete in,” she summed her World Cross outing.
Cherotich’s enormous potential had first became known in 2008, when she clocked 4:27.5 (18 June) at the Kenya Trials for the Bydgoszcz World Junior Championships.
She was not selected for the event, but it was a performance that encouraged the young athlete to pursue excellence in a sport she had adopted a year earlier. After competing at the local cross country series, Cherotich entered the 2009 National Cross Country Championships with sights set on the Amman World Cross but a 20th finish (23:17.4) in the junior 6km run ended her interest.
At the combined World Youth/African Junior Championships Trials on 16 June, Cherotich opted to try her luck in two disciplines; the 3,000m flat, where she finished runner-up (9:03.7) to Cherono and hours later, took the same position in the 3000m Steeplechase race, where she clocked 10:02.0.
“I wanted to be sure of selection, that is why I took part in both races,” she explained. Sure enough, she received her ticket to compete at the 2009 World Youth where she scaled the heights with a victorious 9:03.79 over 3000m to announce her entry on the international scene with panache.
She achieved the milestone with a brilliant turn of pace over the final lap, becoming the third successive Kenyan winner of the World Youth Championships 3000m title when she powered past favourites Jackline Chepng’eno and Ethiopian duo of Genet Yalew plus Emebet Anteneh.
Her impressive form was carried to the 2009/2010 Cross Country campaign, where she placed fourth at the seventh national cross country series meeting in Eldoret in mid-January, then chalked victory in the junior race at Discovery XC, again in Eldoret, at the end of the month.
She then recorded a second place behind fellow Bressanone gold winner, Nelly Chebet (1500m) to seal an automatic ticket to Poland during the 20 February National Cross Country Championships, before repeating that placing in Bygoszcz.
At the Kenyan combined Trials for World Junior/East African Junior Championships on 16 June, Cherotich assumed the now familiar role of playing bridesmaid to Cherono.
Asked whether she would try her best to upset the cart, Cherotich shrugged and offered, “Only God knows.”
With many years left as a junior, she will surely be one of the most relieved competitors when Cherono joins the senior ranks next season!
1500m: 4:27.5A (2008)
3000m: 9:03.7 A (2009)
3000m Steeplechase: 10:02.0A (2009)
2009 1st World Youth Championships (3000m)
2010 2nd World Cross Country Championships (junior race)
Prepared by James Wokabi and Mutwiri Mutuota for the IAAF ‘Focus on Athletes’ project. Copyright IAAF 2010
- Purity Cherotich Rionoripo of Kenya wins the Girls' 3000m (Getty Images) © Copyright
- World Cross silver medallist Mercy Cherono (195) leads Purity Cherotich in the 6km junior women race during the 19th edition of the Discovery Cross country held in Eldoret, Kenya. Cherotich retained the title. (David Macharia) © Copyright