Geared for top honours

Thursday, January 7th, 2021 00:00 |
Helen Obiri wins the women 5000m finals during the Kipchoge Keino Classic Championships at Nyayo Stadium in October. Photo/PD/DAVID NDOLO

World 5,000m champion Hellen Obiri has reiterated her intention to make this year memorable and most significant as she set her sights on winning as many accolades on offer as possible.

Obiri says winning an Olympic gold medal may just be a crowing moment in her illustrious career.

The 31-year-old who wrapped up 2020 in style, by winning the Cursa dels Nassos 10km race in Barcelona, Spain, in a time of 30:53 on New Year’s eve says her focus and desire is at an all time high.

“That is exactly how I wanted my 2020 to end. It was a year of mixed emotions, but I have to say, I am happy with the way I ended it in style,” reflected Obiri.

“Now I have to pick from where I left and put my emphasis on the Tokyo Olympics.

I want to upgrade my 5,000m silver medal to a gold medal. With eight months left, I think I have a lot to do,” added Obiri who is also the world cross country champion.

In Spain, she managed the victory despite a fall in the last kilometre, going on to beat Moroccan Majida Maayouf to second place in 33:19 as home athlete Marta Galimany settled for third position in a time of 33:52.

Now even as the Olympics silver medalist continues training at her Ngong base, she intends to use the remaining cross country meets as part of her build up races towards the olympic Games.

“We still got the Kenya Defense Forces championships this month as well as the national championships in Kisii next month.

Those will be races to get me in shape for the bigger prize,” noted Obiri who won the first meet of the Athletics Kenya Cross Country Series in Machakos at the end of November.

Meanwhile, Valencia was very much the Mecca of distance running in 2020.

Beginning on 12 January when the city staged a 10km event, leading Kenyans Sheila Kiprotich, Rosemary Wanjiru and Noah Jeruto headed to Valencia in pursuit of the 29:43 world record, set three years ago by their compatriot Joyciline Jepkosgei.

The record survived – barely – as Kiprotich won in 29:46 with Wanjiru (29:50) and Jeruto (29:51) close behind.

It was an even-paced effort as Kiprotich had halves of 14:54/14:52. Her half-way split turned out the fastest 5km time of 2020.

The fastest performance in a standalone 5km race came from Norway’s Karoline Bjerkeli Grovdal, who clocked 15:04 in a largely solo effort in Spikkestad in October.

USA’s Keira D’Amato also featured highly on the world list with her breakthrough 15:08 effort in Memphis in November.

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