Obiri leads Kenyan trio to 5000m final

Saturday, July 31st, 2021 00:49 |
World 5,000m champion Hellen Obiri after winning gold in the 2019 Doha Worlds. Photo/PD/FILE

Kenya is in line to defend the women’s 5,000m title at the Olympics after all the three participants sailed to Monday’s final at the Tokyo Olympics yesterday.

At the National Olympic Stadium, world champion Hellen Obiri led compatriots Lillian Kasait and Agnes Tirop to qualify from the semifinals. The trio will be hoping to succeed defending champion Vivian Cheruiyot who has since transitioned to road races.

Standing in the Kenyans’ way is Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands who won the first heat in 14.47.89, with Tirop second in 14:48.01.

Lillian Kasait was fifth to complete the automatic qualification places in the heat while Ethiopians Senbere Teferi and Ejgayehu Taye settled third and fourth respectively. Hassan, bidding to become the first athlete to win three individual gold medals on the track, waited patiently in the middle of the pack until the last 600m before she surged to the front at the bell to ease to victory.

In the second semifinal, Obiri in search of the elusive gold medal at the Games never looked pressured, stayed behind in the the opening few laps then moved to the front all the way to the bell where she slowed down with Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay taking charge to win the race in 14:55.74 Obiri finished second in 24:55.77, while Italy’s Nadia Battocletti was third in 14:55.83.

Burundi’s Frasncine Niyonsaba, who was bidding to get into the podium in the final after scaling up to the 5,000m, was disqualified from the race.

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