Obiri powers to victory for historic World XC gold

Obiri powers to victory for historic World XC gold

Hellen Obiri became the first woman to have won individual senior titles on the track outdoors, indoors and in cross country when she led virtually from start to finish to claim the Senior Women’s gold at Aarhus 2019.

The World 5000m champion held off a stiff challenge from the Ethiopian pair Dera Dida and two-time World Cross under 20 champion Getsenet Gidey who was making her debut in the senior ranks.

With her victory, Obiri thus delivered Kenya’s second gold medal at the 43rd edition of the World Cross competitions in Denmark after Beatrice Chebet earlier won in the women’s under-20 category.

Obiri arrived in Aarhus in good form, having clocked 29:59 for 10km at the end of December and winning at the IAAF Cross Country Permit meeting in Elgoibar in January and at the Kenyan Cross Country Championships last month.

The 29-year-old had clearly also thought about her tactics ahead of this weekend. She led the race from the early stages and could be seen visibly leaning into the hill as she tackled the climb up the Moesgaard Museum roof on each lap.

At the end of the second of five laps, a group of five had already broken away, led by Obiri in 14:16, with sub-2:22 marathon runner Dida, world U20 steeplechase silver medallist Peruth Chemutai, steeplechase world record-holder Beatrice Chepkoech and two-time world U20 cross-country champion Gidey in close procession.

On the final lap it was down to Obiri versus Dida. Would it be the speed of the 5000m specialist or the strength of the marathon runner that ruled supreme?

A few minutes later the world had the answer, as it was Obiri who strode freely to the finish line first, reached in 36:14, two seconds ahead of Dida, with 20-year-old Gidey third in 36:24.

Chebet and Chemutai were fourth and fifth in 36:47 and 36:49, with Ethiopian Tsehay Gemechu sixth in 36:56. Chepkoech was seventh, with teammate Eve Cherona eighth. 21-year-old Moller moved up to 15th by the finish.

In the Senior Men’s race, Geoffrey Kamworor’s stranglehold of the title came tumbling down Joshua Cheptegei and Jacob Kiplimo delivered Uganda’s first 1-2 finish, denying the Kenyan his hat-trick in the Danish city.

Cheptegei overcame his Kampala 2017 nightmare when he surrendered a 12-second advantage over Kamworor to cross the line in 30th place, having lost almost two minutes to his rivals in the final kilometre.

-Material sourced from IAAF

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