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Race for elusive 10,000m medals start at Kasarani next Thursday

ATHLETICS By Jonathan Komen | June 11th 2021
May 28, 2021 Hellen Obiri of Kenya in action during the women's 3000m final [REUTERS]

Kenya has not won women’s 10,000m gold medal at the Olympics.

The late Naftali Temu won Kenya’s last 10,000m gold medal at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City.

It is another huge task in men’s 5000m race where John Ngugi was the last Kenyan to win gold at the 1988 showpiece in Seoul, Korea.

But the women’s 5000m and 10,000m in Tokyo Olympics will no doubt evoke fireworks.

Hellen Obiri, the Olympic 5000m silver medallist, has a mountain to climb in her bid to double in 5000m and 10,000m as she faces Ethiopia’s Letesenbet Gidey.

Gidey set a new world record of 29:01.03 erasing a two-day 10,000m mark of 29:06.82 set by Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan in Hengelo.

Obiri must be at her best to stop Gidey and Hassan’s aggression in 10,000m in Tokyo and, perhaps, enter into annals of history as the first Kenyan Olympic 10,000m champion.

At the national trials, she will take on world 10,000m bronze medallist Agnes Tirop, half marathon miler Rosemary Wanjiru, former Africa 10,000m champion Sheila Chepkirui and Eva Cherono.

US-based Sharon Lokedi, 2017 world cross country champion Irene Jebet Cheptai, Dorcas Kimeli, Daisy Cherotich and Gloria Kite are also in the mix.

Obiri faces another hurdle in 5,000m in her bid to defend Vivian Cheruiyot’s title. She will square it out with Tirop, world 5000m silver medallist Margaret Chelimo, Lilian Kasait, Eva Cherono, Beatrice Chebet, Janet Kisa, Sheila Chelang’at, 2014 Commonwealth Games champion Mercy Cherono, Mercy Wanjiru and Jackline Chebwogen.

World 10,000m bronze medallist Rhonex Kipruto will anchor men’s 10,000m contest. Kipruto, the reigning Africa cross country junior champion, must be at his best to counter Africa 5000m champion Edward Zakayo, Rogers Kwemoi, Bernard Kibet and Vincent Kibet.

Nicholas Kimeli, a member of World Half Marathon Championships to Poland last year, longs to make another monumental record. Kimeli made the squad with her younger sister Dorcas Jepchumba in Poland.

Geoffrey Kamworor, a former  world 10,000m silver medallist, will be in action alongside Jacob Krop, sixth at the 2019 World Championships in Doha.

US-based Edward Cheserek, Philemon Kiplimo, Daniel Mateiko and Timothy Kosgey are also hungry for glory.

Athletics Kenya head coach Julius Kirwa will be scratching his head to select men’s 5000m squad –an event no Kenyan featured in the finals at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

The national trials line up has Olympic 10,000m silver medallist Paul Tanui, Lomuket Mark, Stanley Waithaka, Davis Kiplagat, Richard Yator, Daniel Simiu and Michael Kibet.

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