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World Indoor champ launches her Olympics campaign with victory

By Gilbert Wandera | May 13th 2012

By Gilbert Wandera

World Indoor 3,000m champion Hellen Obiri retained her 1,500m title as the curtains came down on the Kenya Defence Forces athletics championships at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.

Obiri representing Laikipia Air Base (LAB) clocked 4:17.00 finishing at least three seconds ahead of second-placed Perin Nekimpei from Moi Air Base who was credited with a time of 4:20.4. Agnes Chesang from Isiolo was third in a time of 4:24.6. 

Obiri, who is also the national champion in the four-lap race, appeared to struggle in the race considering it was her season opener, but insists it is too early for her to start thinking about the Olympic Games.

“I’m happy to win my first race of the season coming two months after the World Indoor championships in Turkey. It went well, but I feel it is too early to start thinking about the Olympic game. My aim is to make the Kenyan team and then we can plan for the games,” she said.

The men’s 1,500m title went to James Magut of Kenya Navy. He clocked 3:41.1 ahead of Gideon Gathimba from Laikipia Air Base who took 3:41.3 while Bernard Katingai of Embakasi finished third position in a time of 3:41.6.

Former World Champion Abel Mutai from Thika won the 3,000m steeplechase after clocking 8:26.2 to finish ahead of Abraham Chirchir from Embakasi. Chirchir’s time was 8:28.1 while Hellen Kemboi settled for third place clocking 8:29.8.

Day’s highlight

The women’s 5,000m was the highlight of the last day as Gladys Cherono ran away with the title in a time of 16:24.8. Cherono, who had triumphed in the 10,000m distance on Friday, showed little signs of fatigue as she took on Boston marathon champion Sharon Cherop. The world marathon bronze medallist was not quick enough to edge out Cherono and had to take second place in a time of 16:27.2.

Former World Youth 3,000m champion Veronicah Nyaruai representing Laikipia had to settle for third position in 16:28.1.

Commonwealth Games 400m champion Mark Mutai avoided a show-down with Vincent Mumo when he declined to take part in the men’s 200m final, which the latter won in a time of 20.9 ahead of  Emmanuel Lekokuonye (21.2) and Tony Chirchir who finished in third position after 21.3 seconds.

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