Obiri warms up for Doha with win at KDF championships
World 5,000m champion Hellen Obiri warmed up for Doha Diamond League with a clear victory in her specialty event on Day One of the Kenya Defence Forces Athletics Championships at Nyayo National Stadium.
Joyce Chepkemoi Jepkosgei finished second as former Africa 5,000m champion Sheila Chepkirui settled for third.
In the men’s 10,000m, little-known Collins Koros registered his maiden victory after winning the race in 28:39.03.
Africa cross country winner Alfred Barkach was second in 28:42.5 with Abel Mutai finishing third in 28:48.0
Defending champion Vedic Cheruiyot finished sixth in 29:01.5 Surprisingly, world half marathon silver medallist Kibiwott Kandie did not grace the annual event that failed to take place last year due to covid-19 pandemic.
“I have never won a race before. I have finished second and third but not first before. I am excited with the positive progress I am making.
Though I have not attained olympics qualification time, I know should I be given time at the trials, I will not disappoint,” said Koros, a former 1,500m athlete.
Obiri said she was seeking to up her speed ahead of defending her 3,000m title in the Doha Diamond League on May 28.
Sergeant Obiri representing Laikipia Air Base clocked 15:22.64 for her sixth KDF title in 5,000m.
She was followed by teammate Joyce Chepkemoi 15:26.56 with Chepkirui taking the final podium position in 15:28.01.
Nespline Jepleting (15:31.51) and Joycilline Jepkosgei (15:32.23 settled for fourth and fifth position respectively in a star-studded race.
“I am happy to race and emerge victorious once again for my employers. Today was for me to try and work on my speed work ahead of Doha next week.
I have won there four times, so I am very much ready to compete,” shared Obiri, who is fresh from finishing third at the Istanbul Half Marathon in 1:04:51 on April 4, making her the fastest ever debutant in a half marathon in the world.
“Doha is a fast course I have enjoyed over the years. I will be seeking to work to maintain my good record over there,” said Obiri who won the KDF 10,000m title in 2019.
Obiri also confirmed she will skip the 10,000m leaving Jepkosgei, among the favourites for the final set for Wednesday
Irene Kamais and Pauline Chemining are some of the other athletes to watch out for in the final set for Wednesday morning.