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Updated 10 July 2010
Nelly CHEBET Ngeiywo, Kenya (1500m/3,000m/5,000m, Cross Country)
Born: 10 January, 1992, Kapsokwony, Mount Elgon, Rift Valley Province
Coach: Gregory Kilonzo
Manager: Gianni Demadonna
Fifth born in a family of ten. Brother Linus Maruga (secondary school) is an aspiring 1,500m runner.
Attended Riruta Central Secondary School, Nairobi (currently in Form 4 - fourth year of secondary) and Kapkirwok Primary School, Kapsokwony
Trains in Nairobi. Her role model is World Marathon Champion Catherine Ndereba
An aspiring journalist and accomplished junior runner, Nelly Chebet, 18, aims at having the best of both worlds. Although she is yet to embark on studies for the profession she describes as “Very interesting and one that I admire,” there is no doubt she is on the right path as far as prospects of becoming a renowned distance runner are concerned.
“I want to study journalism and be able to report on the events I travel to,” she once told these FoA writers while training for the Bydgoszcz World Cross earlier this year. Her passion for things Fourth Estate was exemplified by the fact she aided in interviewing her junior Kenyan 6km teammates for the FoA project and taking notes in the process!
Chebet started running in school competitions in 2004, while still a primary school pupil, where she contested and won the national 1,500m primary school title at the finals held in Nyeri (154km East of Nairobi).
She joined Riruta Secondary School in 2006 and in 2007, won 3000m silver at the East African Championships in Kampala, Uganda beginning her rich appetite for competing for the national team.
Chebet qualified for the 2008 World Junior Championships Bydgoszcz by winning the 5,000m race at the National Junior trials, where she unleashed a strong finishing kick to clock 16:06.1. “That was my plan and I feel great it worked. I believe in myself and want to win gold in Poland,” she said then.
In Poland, she could only manage 16:17.96 to win bronze and soon after was signed up by Gianni Demadonna.
The Italian manager organised for her to race in Rieti, where young Chebet faced double Olympic 5,000m gold medallist, Ethiopia’s Tirunesh Dibaba, among other quality runners.
“It was difficult since it was my first time to race against seniors and Dibaba was there. That is when I realised that I needed to train harder to achieve more success in my career,” the Riruta Central student said of the race where she timed a PB 15:47.18. Days later, she clocked 8:59.94 over 3000m in Rovereto.
“But I have to balance my running with studies because education is also important. At the moment, our school has tutors who are available to us all year round. When not competing, I train before and after classes,” the cheerful runner explained.
Chebet began her winter season on the KCB/AK Cross Series circuit, where she won the 6km race in Meru and finished fourth in Nyahururu before emerging winner at the District championships.
Teammate Mercy Cherono beat her at the Provincial championships before she placed sixth at the National trials for the 2009 World Cross Country Championships in Amman. Athletics Kenya gave her a wildcard selection for the World Cross, where she went on to finish fifth (20:36).
Spurred by that showing, Chebet was imperious at the Kenya selection event for 2009 World Youth Championships in Bressanone, Italy, winning the girl’s 1,500m decider in 4:23.7 before going on to claim her first major global honour at the sixth edition of the World Youths when she returned a 4:12.76 PB for gold. She was among the six Kenyan gold winners as her country topped the medal charts with additional seven silvers and a bronze.
Chebet continued her impressive showing on the domestic Cross Country circuit upon the onset of the 2009/2010 season, capped by her winning performance at her country’s Trials for the Bydgoszcz World Cross, where she soared to victory in 20:12.7 on 20 February.
She was however, not to return with a medal from Poland unlike two years previously, as she could only place seventh at the World Cross, while her teammates claimed the first four spots. “I was disappointed, since I cannot explain why form deserted me at that time. We had trained well but when we started the race, I felt my body was not what it had been and I decided just to try and finish,” she said of her second Bydgoszcz experience.
Electing to compete at the distance where she had won the World Youth title at the National Trials for the World Juniors/East Africa Junior championships on 26 June, Chebet ran 4:14.5 to finish second in the 1,500m race to earn her automatic ticket to Canada. As preparation, she took on the seniors during the 24 to 26 June National Championships where she ran 4:16.7 for a credible fourth.
“Competing with the seniors, especially Olympics champion, Nancy Jebet Langat (who won in 4:10.11) gave me the insight required to run in pressure races and I hope it will work in Canada,” Chebet disclosed. En route to the final, Chebet beat the 2006 World Junior gold medallist, Irene Jelagat in 4:14.2 against the Beijing winner’s 4:14.5.
1500 m 4:12.76 (2009)
3000 m 8:59.94 (2008)
5000 m 15:47.18 (2008)
1500m: 2008 – 4:22.7h; 2009 – 4:12.76; 2010 – 4:14.2h
2007 2nd East African Championships, Arusha (3,000m)
2008 3rd World Junior Championships, Bydgoszcz (5,000m)
2009 5th World Cross Country Championships, Amman (junior race)
2009 1st World Youth Championships, Bressanone (1500m)
2010 7th World Cross Country Championships, Bydgoszcz (junior race)
Prepared by James Wokabi and Mutwiri Mutuota for the IAAF ‘Focus on Athletes’ project. Copyright IAAF 2008-2010