LONDON, England - Running for her native country of Kenya, former South Plains College Lady Texan standout Sally Kipyego made a bold move to take the lead with 1,000-meters remaining in the final of the Olympic 10,000-meter final Friday night.
She had large company just behind with double world champion and countrywoman Vivian Cheruiyot and perhaps the greatest woman's distance runner in the world in Tirunesh Dibaba.
With approximately 600 meters remaining, Dibaba took over the race and then blasted by the field over the final lap.
Kipyego temporarily fell to third, but overtook Cheriuiyot over the final 400 meters to capture the silver medal in the first Olympic race of her career.
Talking to Ken Goe of the Oregonian, Kipyego said she tried to push the pace early to try to take out some of Dibaba's closing speed.
"I respected that. I tried to push the pace to try to make it a little painful for everyone. Unfortunately it didn't work on her. She still kicked real well."
Kipyego's tactics are reminiscent of her tough front running tactics she displayed at South Plains and later Texas Tech. Even though she came up short of gold, she sounded proud of her latest accomplishment.
"It's just an honor to do this for Kenya, because I understand how many people have gone before me," Kipyego said. "To get a medal in the Olympics is a great honor."
Kipyego's work in London is not yet complete as she is scheduled to compete in the preliminaries of the women's 5,000-meter run on Tuesday, August 7. If she advances, Kipyego will then compete in the finals of the event on Friday, August 10.
The next athlete with ties to SPC scheduled to compete in the Olympic Games is Janeil Bellille. Bellille will attempt to advance out of the heats of the 400 hurdles Sunday at 1 p.m. CDT.
Bellille recently helped lead the Lady Texans to a fourth consecutive team title when she one NJCAA titles in both the 100- and 400-hurdles in May. At the NJCAA Championships, Bellille broke Melaine Walker's meet record in the 400-hurdle race and is also the NJCAA record holder in the event.
South Plains was supposed to have two recent standouts compete in the opening round of the 400-meter dash. Unfortunately, things did not go the way Rondell Bartholomew and Renny Quow had hoped.
Bartholomew was forced to withdraw from the event before the Games even began due to an undisclosed injury. Quow - the 2009 IAAF World Championship bronze medalist in the event - was noticeably absent when lane five of his scheduled heat was empty. It is unknown why Quow did not make it to the starting line. He remains eligible to compete as a member of Trinidad & Tobago's 4x400-meter relay team.
Schedule of Athletes with SPC ties competing in London Olympic Games
London Local CST
Friday, August 3
Sally Kipyego (Kenya) 10K Final SILVER MEDAL
Saturday, August 4
Renny Quow (Trinidad & Tobago) 400 heats DNS
Sunday, August 5
Janeil Bellille (Trinidad & Tobago) 400H heats 19:00 1:00 p.m. CST
Monday, August 6
*Janeil Bellille (Trinidad & Tobago) 400H semi 20:15 2:15 p.m. CST
Tuesday, August 7
Sally Kipyego (Kenya) 5K heats 10:55 4:55 a.m. CST
Trevor Mackey (Bahamas) 200 heats 11:50 5:50 a.m. CST
Wednesday, August 8
*Trevor Mackey (Bahamas) 200 semi 20:10 2:10 p.m. CST
*Janeil Bellille (Trinidad & Tobago)400H final 20:45 2:45 p.m. CST
Thursday, August 9
Andrae Williams (Bahamas) 4x400 heats11:35 5:35 a.m. CST
Renny Quow (Trinidad & Tobago) 4x400 heats11:35 5:35 a.m. CST
Friday, August 10
*Sally Kipyego (Kenya) 5K final 20:05 2:05 p.m. CST
*Andrae Williams (Bahamas) 4x4 final 21:20 3:20 p.m. CST
*Renny Quow (Trinidad & Tobago 4x4 final 21:20 3:30 p.m. CST
*Denotes athlete must advance from previous round