Kasait stuns Obiri in 5,000m, however both qualify to Tokyo Games

Friday, June 18th, 2021 00:00 |
Lilian Kasait (right) hugs Hellen Obiri after she beat her to win the 5,000m race at the Olympic trials yesterday. Agnes Tirop (left) crosses the finish line to come third. Photo/PD/David Ndolo

African Games 5,000m champion Lilian Kasait destroyed a stellar field including two-time world champion Hellen Obiri to win the women’s 5,000m as Kenyan Olympic trials began yesterday at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.

Olympics 1,500m Champion Faith Chepng’etich easily won the women’s 1,500m to all but seal a place in team Kenyan for Tokyo Games planned for July 23 to August 8 in Japan.

Kasait, the 2017 World Cross Country bronze medalist, clocked 14:52.18 with Obiri coming home second in 14:52.51 and Agnes Tirop closed the podium in 14:52.51, and are all expected to be named in the team come Saturday.

“I didn’t expect to win since it was a very strong field. I am happy to qualify for the Olympics for the first time. I know we have a very huge task ahead at the Tokyo Games,” said Kasait.

On her part, Obiri said she is keen to exit the global stage on a high at the Tokyo Games.

“I am not worried about my result today,” said Obiri when asked about her performance.

“In fact I am proud of myself because it is not easy coming from half marathon straight to 3,000m and now 5,000m on the contrary, I feel I am nearing top form,” added Obiri who says her target is to win a gold medal in Tokyo before I shift to road running.

The Olympic silver medallist said she is yet to decide if she will do double events at the Summer Games.

“I am still undecided but I will consult my coach and then decide if can do both 5k and 10k,” she added.

Chepng’etich clocked 4:02.10 to beat Continental Cup 1,500m winner Winny Chebet  to second place in 4:04.62.The two the only to attain the olympic standard.

2017 World Under -18 1,500m bronze medalist Edinah Jebitok who finished third in 4:05.54 narrowly missing the olympic mark of 4:04.20.

Chepng’etich says she is in the right mindset to battle world Champion Sifan Hassan among other stars in Tokyo.

“All I wanted was to win today since it was my first home race in a while. I feel that I am in the right mental state to focus for Tokyo,” said Chepng’etich who admitted there is still more work to be done as she eyes to defend her title.

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