Hellen Obiri credits husband for Doha gold in 5,000m title

Monday, October 7th, 2019 00:00 |
Hellen Obiri savours the moment after winning gold in the women’s 5,000m at Khalifa Stadium in Doha. Photo/AFP

Keith McGhie in Doha

Hellen Obiri paid tribute to her husband Tom Nyaundi’s persuasiveness after clinching a second successive world 5,000m title on the penultimate night of the IAAF Championships in Doha, Qatar.

The defending champion wiped away any memories of tailing off in the closing stages of the 10,000m the previous weekend with a courageously strong front-running performance on Saturday night. 

Obiri, who also holds the world cross-country crown, then unleashed a decisive burst on the last of the 12-and-a-half laps to shake off the attentions of silver medallist and compatriot Margaret Chelimo and Konstanze Klosterhalfen, who became the first ever German to appear on the 5,000m podium.

The 29-year-old Kenya Defence Forces sergeant revealed how she very nearly didn’t contest the race at all. “I wanted to control the race so I went to the front straight away,” she explained.

“When it is a slow race, anybody can win but my body was responding well, so I wanted to do the work and set the pace. After the 10,000m, I was very disappointed and wanted to go back home and concentrate on 2020.”

“I was mentally confused but my husband called from home and told me 10k was not your race so I must focus on 5k. I said I was tired but he said I must do the 5k heats and see how my body was and it went well.”

“The only title I am missing now is Olympics, so I want to take a month off and then focus on Tokyo next year.

I haven’t decided yet whether I want to do both distances but I do want to work hard at challenging myself over 10,000m.”

Obiri’s time of 14 minutes 26.7 seconds set a new championship record while behind her, running into second place down the home straight, Chelimo clocked 14:27.4 to knock over four seconds off her personal best. Lilian Kasait, who was up among the leading quartet at the bell, faded to fifth in 14:36.05.

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