SHOW OF MIGHT: Kenyans outrun Ethiopians in Oregon Diamond League

Osando Hellen Obiri of Kenya celebrates after winning the women's 1,500m event during the 19th African Senior Athletics Championships on August 12, 2014 in Marrakesh. AFP PHOTO / FADEL SENNA

Hellen Obiri led a Kenyan 1-2-3-4 5000m sweep at the Prefontaine Classic Diamond League which she described as a statement of intent as they left Ethiopian challengers gasping for breath inside the Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.

Obiri stopped the clock at 14:32.02, edging out Viola Kibiwott (14:35.13) to second place and Vivian Cheruiyot (14:35.69) to third.

Mercy Cherono (14:37.08) came in fourth with Ethiopia's Belaynesh Oljira interrupting Kenya's onslaught by timing 14:42.57 for fifth place.

"It was my first 5,000m in an international race and I ran a time that I didn't expect," Obiri, who stepped up from 1,500m, said.

"I wanted to take them (Ethiopians) to the 3,000m mark. From there, I knew I could take them head on. We started to crank up the pace with 1,200m left. We came up with a joint plan to push up the pace and see what the Ethiopians had to offer," Obiri said.

"It was important to send a statement to the Ethiopians that we are here and ready for their challenge," she said.

In the end, it was too much to ask of the Ethiopians as Ababel Yeshaneh and Alemitu Haroye faded into ninth and 10th places.

"I don't intend to go for another race especially now that I am coming from maternity leave. I want to go back and focus on training, ahead of the Olympics trials," Obiri said.

Irene Cheptai (14:43.42), Sally Kipyego (14:43.98) and Betsy Saina (14:43. 98) finished sixth, seventh and eighth.

Cherono said: "This is my first 5,000m. It was really cold, but I am happy with the time. I still have Rome and may be Birmingham races, before turning to the Olympic trials."

"Obiri did really well to push the pace. I think because she is a 1,500m runner. I just could not keep up with this cold," Cherono said.

Saina was equally encouraged with here first race of her season.

"It was so windy, but I did exactly what I wanted. 14:44 is very good for me. I will be ready for the trials. But as you are aware, the 10,000km race is a different thing altogether."

US-based Kipyego said: "I wasn't really prepared for this. I wasn't able to hit the front because I thought the girls were a little bit sharper and stronger. I was a bit off the mark. 14.43 is a good time for me. I can take that home. I have three to four weeks to prepare for trials."

The Kenyan athletes were in agreement things were shaping up towards an explosive Olympics trials as each of them is training for next month's showdown.

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