World 5,000m champion rallies fellow athletes to follow health guidelines

Wednesday, April 8th, 2020 00:10 |
World 5,000m champion Hellen Obiri after winning gold in the 2019 Doha Worlds. Photo/PD/FILE

Nairobi, Tuesday

Olympic 5,000m silver medallist Hellen Obiri has urged fellow athletes to follow social distancing and practice good hygiene standards.

Obiri, the world 5,000m champion, who has been forced to adjust her training programme, says she only has one session in the morning to train. 

She believes, like other sectors, sports will have to suffer immensely before order is restored.

However, the 2016 Olympic 5,000m silver medallist believes she will emerge out of the stay at home challenge stronger and ready to battle her way to the top to win the only medal missing in her collection and Olympics gold when the postponed Games take place in Tokyo, Japan, next year.

 “I have to train alone and it is difficult. It requires a lot of discipline and focus because distractions are many,” Obiri said on Monday in Nairobi.

“These are difficult times, which call for special measures. As athletes and role models we must sensitise all on the need to keep safe and follow government directives. We must be very careful, that is why I can only afford to train once a day,” she added. 

With no Diamond League meetings and the World Athletics Continental Tour, initially set to gun off in Nairobi in May but now postponed, Obiri has had to be careful not to peak too soon.

“There will be time for action and the important thing now is to remain safe and healthy. When everything is done and there is no coronavirus, we will train as a team and compete at the highest stage again,” said the runner who trains in Ngong, Kajiado County.  

World Athletics president Seb Coe has said it will be a lot harder to stage all competitions in 2020 when the situation allows and athletes will have to select which events to take part in after COVID-19 is defeated.

Already, the World Indoor Championships, initially set for Nanjing, China in March has been moved to the same month next year while this season’s Diamond League meetings have also been shelved.   -Xinhua

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