In 2015, Sheila Chelangat virtually gave up her childhood dream of being amongst Kenya’s high athletes.
However she opted to hold in there, and, with no regrets, as she has lastly scaled the ladder to the zenith of Kenyan distance operating.
Now the Kenya nationwide cross nation champion, Chelangat might have dominated on the current Nationwide Police Service and Athletics Kenyan nationwide championships, each held on the Ngong Racecourse in Nairobi, however her journey to the highest has been met with many challenges.
The Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) postponed the Africa Cross Nation Championships that was slated for March 6 and seven in Lome, Togo, with federations throughout the continent now ready for the brand new dates.
CAA cited the prevailing Covid-19 scenario within the West African nation as the rationale that led to the pushing aside of the occasion for a second time.
Group Kenya, which contains of 46 athletes and 10 officers, and which was chosen on February 13 in the course of the Nationwide Cross Nation Championships on the Ngong Racecourse, have been tenting on the Kigari Lecturers Coaching School in Embu however the camp was known as off on Thursday and the athletes launched.
This got here as a giant blow for Chelangat whose profitable form now will not have a stage to blossom.
“I used to be in fine condition… ready for one 12 months to make the workforce once more was not straightforward. We perceive the virus has been spreading and our well being as athletes issues so much. We simply have to attend for additional directions, and I hope I’ll nonetheless be in fine condition to compete,” stated Chelangat, who’s underneath the Rosa Associati Administration.
Chelangat, who managed to ground world beaters on the nationwide cross nation assembly, disclosed completely to Nation Sport how she managed to maintain her good type regardless of a coronavirus-ravaged 2020 season.
She stated ther coaching in Kericho has been good, and that she did not intervene along with her programme when the camps have been closed final 12 months in March, coaching in isolation on the county’s tea plantations.
“Final 12 months was actually unhealthy for athletes as a result of all of the races have been cancelled and I used to be among the many first ones to be affected as a result of the Africa Cross Nation Championships had been postponed to April earlier than it was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I went on with my coaching as a result of I knew sooner or later the lockdown will come to an finish and races will open up. That’s what stored me in fine condition and I have to thank all those that inspired me after I felt I used to be low,” stated Chelangat who trains underneath coach Gabriel Kiptanui.
Her determination to compete within the cross nation got here as a second thought after February’s conventional Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon was cancelled.
She was anticipated to make her half marathon debut at Ras Al Khaimah on February 19, however the large race was cancelled as a consequence of what the organisers stated have been issues over the unfold of the coronavirus.
Chelangat was wanting ahead to competing towards seasoned street street runners just like the world marathon document holder Brigid Kosgei.
However she just isn’t giving up but as she seems ahead in collaborating in varied Diamond League races on the monitor forward of the Olympics Video games the place she is eyeing a slot within the 5,000 metres race.
“It is going to be my first Olympics Video games occasion and I do know it will not be straightforward however I am engaged on my ending methods now,” stated Chelangat.
Born on April 11, 1998, in Lelechwet, Bomet County, to Richard Chepkwony and Alice Chepkwony, Chelangat went to Kapkidei Main Faculty as much as normal six earlier than she was transferred to Kiptere Main Faculty after Japheth Kemei, one of many senior athletics coaches, recognized her expertise.
She used to remain at school because the coach requested her dad and mom that he displays her coaching since she was one of many youngest athletes.
Upon finishing main schooling, she joined Kiptere Excessive Faculty the place she would compete within the 5,000m race, one thing she stated did not take her far.
After finishing her highschool schooling in 2013, she went to the camp on the identical place for 5 months earlier than going again dwelling as her physique “could not react” and she or he noticed operating as “a waste of time.”
“I’d at all times be left behind throughout our coaching. I made a decision to return dwelling for one 12 months the place I used to coach simply to maintain match,” she stated.
She helped her father choose tea on their farm saying that he was very robust and needed to see somebody working arduous and never lazing round.
She later headed to Kericho the place she lived along with her uncle, Joseph Sang, whereas she educated for 2 months earlier than getting an opportunity to signify Kenya on the World Cross Nation Championships within the junior class in Guiyang, China, the place she completed sixtieth.
That didn’t deter her to proceed making an attempt.
She then made Kenya’s workforce to the Africa Youth Championships the place she bagged silver within the 3,000 metres race.
The identical 12 months, she was chosen in Kenya’s workforce to the World Youth Video games the place she managed a bronze within the 3,000m earlier than profitable gold in 3,000m on the Commonwealth Youth Video games in Apia, Samoa.
She then headed to Bydgoszcz, Poland for the World Junior Championships the place she competed in her specialty 3,000m rising fifth.
The 12 months 2017 noticed her make the workforce to the World Cross Nation Championships in Uganda the place she completed fourth place within the junior class.
Motivated, she moved to the monitor and made her Diamond League debut in Rome, ending tenth in quarter-hour, 15.08 seconds.
The identical 12 months she joined the Nationwide Police Service the place upon her commencement from the coaching college in Kiganjo, she began her season in 2018 with a race in London Diamond League the place she competed in 3,000m rising final.
“This was my first worldwide race and I emerged final which I feel was my first and the final time to register such disappointing outcomes,” added Chelangat.
In 2019, she could not signify Kenya on the World Championships in London as a consequence of a necessity by the World Athletics that an athlete should have gone by three exams in doping to have the ability to compete within the occasion.
The 12 months 2020 began effectively with a win within the Nationwide Cross Nation Championships earlier than coronavirus hit the world forcing her to coach alone the complete 12 months.
When a number of the races opened up, she was tasked to tempo Sifan Hassan and Brigid Kosgei in the course of the one-hour problem in Brussels, Belgium, the place she paced as much as the 12-kilometre mark.
She later, in October final 12 months, featured within the London Marathon the place she paced the main group as much as the 15km mark.
This she stated that it was a part of her preparations forward of this season which once more seems darkish with all her races thus far cancelled.
“I had excessive hopes of competing on this season however once more we’re nonetheless struggling with no races in sight. I’ll now await the Diamond League races to begin as a part of preparations forward of the Olympics Video games which we hope it shall be held as deliberate,” concludes Chelangat.
She is the third born in a household of eight siblings and she or he thanks her cousin Sheila Chepkurui, who can also be an athlete, and has at all times held her hand at any time when issues look robust.
She is married to Elvis Cheruiyot whom she stated has additionally been supportive, particularly throughout her morning runs during which he accompanies her.
“My husband has been very a lot supportive and that’s the reason I am doing effectively proper now as a result of he offers me ample time to coach and generally accompanies me within the morning runs,” stated Chelangat, who at all times needed to be like Hellen Obiri, her mentor.