Nairobi, Sep 12 : Three Diamond trophies and a world silver medal might mean a lot to many athletes, but to Timothy Cheruiyot, his career is nothing without a world gold medal.
However, that might change ahead of the World Championships in Doha, Qatar, which will be held from Sept. 27 to Oct. 6. Cheruiyot speaking from Kericho, says he is ready to grab the opportunity to add to his medal collection.
"First I need to qualify," Cheruiyot said. "I will be competing at Kenya's world trials on Sept. 12-13."
This is mainly to cushion his training mate and world champion Elijah Manangoi, who carries an ankle injury.
Both Cheruiyot and Manangoi hold wild cards but Kenya can only use one. It means, Cheruiyot must step up and compete in the trials and finish in the top three positions to secure his spot in the team together with that of Manangoi.
"In Doha it will depend on the conditions and how the heats go. Anything can happen at a championship but I have the solid belief that the past two years of experience since the world championships in London has given me everything in my tool kit to know I can be on the start line and believe in myself and my right tactics," said Cheruiyot.
Cheruiyot's three fastest times this year - 3:28.77 in Lausanne, 3:29.97 in Monaco and 3:30.22 in Brussels - have been set in races with differing paces.
Cheruiyot's lifetime best of 3:28.41, set last year in Monaco, puts him seventh on the world all-time list and is just 2.41 seconds shy of Hicham El Guerrouj's world record.
He is confident of upping that list and perhaps one day even beating El Guerrouj's 3:26.00.
"I'm not the kind of person to talk about world records and I don't really know when the time may be to properly try," says Cheruiyot, who won the Kenyan 800m title last month in a personal best time of 1:43.11.
"I can run 3:26 something if the conditions are right and with good pace," he added. "I have to believe that I can break the world record. If I don't believe that, then I am limiting myself. Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge believes he can break two hours in the marathon and that's what drives him."
As professional athletes, Cheruiyot feels the mind is crucial and over the past four years his confidence has built steadily.
"A world record is a dream, and a realistic one, but it takes so much hard work. It has taken me four years to get to 3:28, but I know I am very close to 3:27 and better still. I also want to run as long as I can and over longer distances in the future. But medals - that's what is important to me," he said. "I want to be world, Olympic and Commonwealth champion in 1500 m."(XINHUA)