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Kenya's Obiri, Cheruiyot hope for great show at Nairobi Continental Tour

ATHLETICS By Xinhua | August 17th 2020
Kenya's Hellen Obiri celebrates after winning the women's 5000 meter race with a world leading time during the Diamond League athletics meeting at the Louis II stadium in Monaco Friday, Aug. 14, 2020 AP

Kenyan stars Hellen Obiri and Timothy Cheruiyot have promised a great show at Nairobi's World Continental Tour in October after they swept to a dominant victory in women's 5,000m and men's 1,500m races respectively at Herculis Diamond League in Monaco on Friday.

The Monaco meet kick-started the delayed track and field season after the COVID-19 pandemic that also forced the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to 2021.

World 5,000m champion Obiri registered a world-leading time of 14:22.12 to stamp her authority on the star-studded field.

Obiri, 30, formed the leading group with five lapses to go alongside Ethiopia's Letesenbet Gidey, Britain's Laura Weightman and Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands before the Dutchwoman found pace too high and dropping out to leave the duel between the Kenyan and the Ethiopian as they gapped the rest of the field.

In the end, Gidey settled for second place after clocking 14:26.57 with Weightman setting a personal best of 14:35.44 in the third slot.

"I am grateful for the opportunity to come to Monaco and run well after long months of lockdown. I'm satisfied with my performance which gives me hope of running well at home during the Nairobi Continental Tour on Oct. 3," Obiuri told Xinhua on Saturday.

"I also want to thank the organizers for considering our plight and rescheduling the event to enable us to compete in the Doha Diamond League meet," said Obiri who is also the world cross-country champion.

The world 1,500m champion Cheruiyot asserted his authority at his specialty, beating the Norwegian Jakob Ingebrightsen who handed him a defeat at a promotional virtual race dubbed the 'Impossible Games' in June.

A delighted Cheruiyot stopped at 3:28.45, just 0.04 outside his personal best time he set at the same stadium in 2018 to win the race.

Kenya's Timothy Cheruiyot runs to victory in the men's 1500 metres during the IAAF Diamond League athletics 'Herculis' meeting at The Stade Louis II Stadium in Monaco on July 20, 2018. / AFP PHOTO

Ingebrigtsen's time of 3:29.47 was enough for him to set a new European record which lifted him to eighth on the world all-time list. Third place went to Briton Jake Wightman who also registered a personal best time of 3:29.47.

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After the Monaco honors, Cheruiyot turns his guns at running on home soil during the inaugural World Continental Tour.

"My hope is to maintain the same shape and give Kenyan fans great performance during the Continental Tour at home. I will be delighted to see top runners grace the event in Nairobi especially now that the event won't clash with Doha meet," said Cheruiyot.

Kenya's Olympic 1,500m champion Faith Kipyegon narrowly missed the world record by 0.17 after running 2:29.15 to win the less familiar 1,000m event.

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