World 5000m champion Hellen Obiri shrugged off stiff opposition at the Kenya Defence Forces Cross Country contest to win her fifth title at Moi Airbase yesterday.
Obiri, also the World Cross Country champion clocked 32:49.50 in the 10km contest ahead of Joyce Chekemoi (33:22.3) with the 2020 KDF meet champion Sheila Chepkurui clocking 33:24.03 to close the podium places.
“It always feels good to come here and run for my team, Laikipia Airbase. This is my fifth KDF cross country title, and it will motivate me ahead of RAK half marathon next month,” said Obiri, who won silver at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Embakasi-based Eric Kiptanui, a road running specialist won the corresponding men’s contest in 29:20.59 head of Collins Koros of Kahawa Baracks who returned 29:21.45 with Vedic Cheruiyot timing 29:23.78 in third.
Former World Half Marathon record holder Kibiwott Kandi who was in the lead group for initial stages faded to seventh spot timing 29:37.49. Kandie attributed his bad performance to a nagging knee injury.
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“I had good preparations ahead of this event, the confidence I had helped and that’s a good sign ahead of the busy season. My target is run track as I focus for the World Championships in Oregon,” said Kiptanui.
At the National Police Service meeting at Ngong Racecourse, world 10,000m bronze medallist Rhonex Kipruto, a police recruit was on his top form as he became the new police champion in the men’s 10km race.
Kipruto representing took over the reigns from Geoffrey Kamworor who had won the championships eight times but missed yesterday’s championship due to an injury.
Kipruto clocked 30:28.57 head of his challenger Michael Kibet in 30:28.81 and Josephat Kiprotich (30:46.79).
“Kibet and myself have just graduated from Kenya Police Training College and to come here and finish 1-2 is a good sign ahead of the season,” Kipruto said.
Caroline Nyaga emerged victorious in the women’s race timing 35:52:54 ahead of Nelly Cheptoo in 35:58:54.
Janet Ruguru was third in 36:04:43.
Early this week, Athletics Kenya announced the launch of the Memorial Agnes Tirop World Cross Country Tour set for Lobo Village in Eldoret on February 12.
Kamworor and Ethiopia’s Letesenbet Gidey are among the star attraction in the event.