Hellen Obiri chasing Worlds double act

By Dennis Okeyo: Wednesday, August 21st 2019 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Athletics
World Champion Hellen Obiri [Courtesy]

World 5000m champion Hellen Obiri will today begin her quest to double at Doha Worlds when AK National Championships enter the second day at Nyayo Stadium.

With no sign of slowing down in her 5000m speciality, Obiri has made it clear she is climbing up the rungs to also vie for the 10,000m.

And with AK using this national championship to pick 10,000m squad to World championships in Doha on September 28 to October 6, the stage is set for a fierce battle for slots today.

The organising committee decided to conduct 10,000m trials early so as to give selected athletes ample recovery time.

The main trials for the world showpiece is slated for September 12-13 at the same venue.  

KDF’s Obiri, also the Olympics silver medalist over the 5,000m will line up against versatile Commonwealth Games 5000m silver medalist Margaret Chelimo, African champion Stacy Ndiwa of Kenya Police and Alice Aprot of Prisons. 

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Other front runners include Irene Cheptai, who is returning from maternity leave, former World Cross Country champion Agnes Tirop and Sandrafelis Chebet.

“If I manage to qualify for the 10,000m event and the management allows me to double up, then I will take the opportunity.

“I already have a wildcard in 5000m by virtue of being a world champion, so I will be defending my title over the distance,” Obiri told Standard Sports yesterday.

“But first things first, my target is to get the qualification time in 10,000m,” she said.

In men’s 10,000m, the battle for the three slots will be between Olympics silver medallist Paul Tanui, 2008 Beijing Olympics 5,000m bronze medallist Edwin Soi and Charles Mneria.

The three will be up against emerging youngsters led by World Under-20 10,000m champion Rhonex Kipruto and World Under-20 5,000m silver medallist Stanley Waithaka.

Other runners to look out for include former World under-20 10000m champion Rodgers Kwemoi and Bernard Kimeli. 

The 2015 World 10,000m silver medallist Geoffrey Kamworor has opted out of Doha Worlds and will use the championships to earn his Kenya Police points as well as prepare for the New York Marathon slated for November 3. 

In day one results, Sheila Chelangat of Kenya Police dominated heat one of the women’s 5000m race. Chelagat clocked 15:33.50 ahead of Beatrice Chebet, who crossed the line in 15:33.86. Sheila Chepkurui (34:34.68) of KDF was third.

“The race was easy, it was just a matter of qualifying for the finals and see how it goes. But my target is to run at the trials and hopefully qualify for world championships,” said Chelagat.

Dorcas Kimeli of KDF won the second semis in 15:35.00. Eva Cherono came in second in 15:37.72 while Police’s Janet Kisa clocked 15:40.18 for third as Mercy Cherono (15:36.64) returned fourth.

“It’s great to be running at the nationals after maternity leave. This is my third race since coming back. I’m getting into shape ahead of trials. I’m enjoying my comeback and motherhood,” said Cherono, the 2014 Commonwealth Games 5,000m champion.

Geoffrey Mutai, Meshak Baraka, John Gikonyo, Nicholas Chirchir all booked their places in the 400m hurdles finals scheduled for tomorrow. 

Other finalists include Edward Ngunjiri, Ezekiel Bett, Sammy Rugut and Stephen Tenai.

Maureen Jelagat of Prisons, Betty Chelegat, Vance Kerubo and Gladys Ngure will contest in women’s 400m hurdles.

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