Nairobi: Newly-crowned Laureus World Sportswoman Vivian Cheruiyot says she will not be resting on her laurels in 2012. (Agencies)
Cheruiyot, the world 10,000m and 5,000m champion, now plans a fast time in her next assignment - the Aviva Grand Prix, an IAAF Permit Indoor meetings, which will be held in Birmingham February 18.
"This award has inspired me. I had no idea that I was going to win it. After failing to get something in Monaco (IAAF awards), I knew it was hard. Moreover, there were great people there who are top in their respective disciplines. But I am inspired with this gesture tome," she said in Nairobi on Wednesday.
Cheruiyot will be running in the 3,000m race, her only indoor meeting this year. The World Indoor silver medallist has ruled out competing at the event in Istanbul, Turkey as she focuses on the London Olympics in July-August.
"I only have one race in Birmingham. I will be leaving on Feb 15. I have my target set on the Olympics. I really want that medal," she said.
After Birmingham, Cheruiyot will return home for more training before she heads to Puerto Rico for a 10km road race March 28.
Last year Sentayehu Ejigu of Ethiopia won the Puerto Rico 10km race. But after a foiled attempt to win an Olympic medal in Beijing in the 5,000m race, Cheruiyot is keen to get the gem in her illustrious collection. That has been given a shot in the arm by Laureus World Sports Academy, which voted her the best female athlete in 2011.
"It felt great to sit next to Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson. I asked him about his team and he wanted to know how I run so well.
"Arsene Wenger said I was too tiny to beat anyone. But I like Arsenal and Chelsea and it was bad there was nobody from Chelsea in the gallery," Cheruiyot said.
"But the biggest moment was for me to be honoured the same medal with tennis star Novak Djokovic. It makes me feel that I, too, am the best in my discipline and now the challenge will be to maintain the same in 2012."
To start off, Cheruiyot remained coy on taking a double at the Olympics.
But she was certain she will be seeking to break the four-year-old 5,000m world record of 14:11.15, which is set by Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia in 2008 in Oslo.
Last year, Cheruiyot came close to shuttering the record when she ran 14:20.87 in Stockholm.
The 28-year-old will be shifting to marathon competition starting 2014.
For now, she is happy with what she has achieved having been overlooked by the IAAF last year in Monaco, when they crowned Australian Sally Pearson, the world 100m hurdles champion as the IAAF Sports Woman of the Year, a newspaper reports.
A cheerful Cheruiyot dedicated the title to his husband Moses Kirui Kiplagat, who has been offering her unrelenting support in her athletics career.
Kiplagat said the award means a lot to the family since it is the best his wife can brag of in her great athletics trophy collections.
"When we boarded the plane to London we were not sure she was going to win. We knew she was among the top contenders for the award. That was all we wanted to hear," said Kiplagat upon arrival in Nairobi Wednesday.
Both could not believe their ears when Vivian's name was called out at the Central Hall in Westminster, Downing Street. After having been omitted by her own federation (IAAF), the Kenyan Sports Woman of the Year said it gave credence to the fact that a prophet is never respected at home.
"It was my greatest moment in athletics. Just to hear my name called out," said Cheruiyot.
Nairobi: Newly-crowned Laureus World Sportswoman Vivian Cheruiyot says she will not be resting on her laurels in 2012.