Returning Obiri scoops 5000m title as KDF meet starts
Moscow 2013 World Championships women 1500m bronze winner; Hellen Obiri returned from her maternal break in style by effortlessly winning the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) 5000m title before taking bronze in her speciality as their track and field championships opened at Nairobi’s Safaricom Stadium on Wednesday.
Emmanuel Kipsang held on to his men 10000m crown while Sheila Chesang ran away with the honours in the women’s 3000m steeplechase as Winnie Chebet, the 2006 World Juniors women 800m silver medallist, took the gold in women 1500m on a day where the Forces big names underlined their intention to dominate the podium.
The 2011 World Youth 400m men’s silver winner Alphas Kishoiyan and Boniface Mweresa who came fifth at the 2016 World Indoor Championships in Portland, USA are other KDF notables who breezed through the heats on Day One.
Laikipia Airbase star; Obiri won the 12 and a half-lap race in 15:21:8 well clear of Joycline Chepkosgei from Moi Air Base (15:40:0) and 2005 World Youth Championship gold winner Sheila Chepkirui (15:42:4) in a commanding display of front running that saw her eventually compete against the clock.
Obiri who missed last year’s World Championships to attend to maternal duty is eyeing to launch her quest to compete at the Rio 2016 Olympics in her 1500m speciality when the IAAF Diamond Leagues gets underway in Doha next month.
“I came here to test my speed and the race was good. I got nice competition but I knew I was going to win since I had trained very hard for this,” the athlete who is coached by the Sydney 2000 Olympics champion, Noah Ngeny, said.
In the first track final of the day, Kipsang from Mtongwe, 22, held on to his men 10000m forces title to qualify for the National Championships when he led Stephen Arita (28:44:2) of Nairobi and Laikipia Airbase (LAB) runner Kiplimo Mutai (28:49:0) to the medals in 28:28:1 after showing his closest challengers a clean pair of heels in the closing two laps.
Kipsang is confident he will challenge for a place in the Kenyan Olympics team at the June Trials for Rio in Eldoret where he will step down the distance.
“This was actually a game of man-to-man and my target was to defend my title, which will lead me to the Trials. This race was tough, my colleagues were not in a position to give me space to win but I tried all I could.
“I will run 10,000m in the National Championships and thereafter, get ready to meet my competitors in the 5000m race in the Trials for the Olympics,” the two-time Forces champion who made a winning debut last year added.
Chesang of Isiolo took the honours in the women’s water and barriers race in 9:51:0 with Marion Kibor from Kahawa (9:57:5) taking silver ahead of 2010 Commonwealth silver medallist, Mercy Njoroge (LAB) who closed the podium in 10:04:8.
Thika’s Chebet clinched the 1500m women’s race title in 4:14:4 ahead of Judy Kiyeng of Moi Airbase (MAB) who ran 4:15:1 for silver in a race where Obiri, who was eyeing the Forces double taking the third medal, in 4:16:1.
-Mweresa, Kishoiyan showdown-
Mweresa (LAB) took the men’s 400m first heat in 47:09 stringing along Solomon Bwoga (Mtongwe/47:57) and Saidi Rutto of Thika who ran 48:69 to the top three.
He is on course for a showdown with Kishoiyan who powered to the second fastest time of the day in winning the second preliminary race in 47:14 ahead of Cornelius Tuwei (47:40) and Martin Kiplangat(49:30).
“This race has taken me good since this was my first outdoor race. I want to work hard in the semi finals so that I can qualify for the final,” Mweresa who came seventh at the 2012 World Junior Championships remarked.
“I ran to my best today and I know I’m going to qualify for the finals. The only thing I need to do is to improve on my time,” his chief rival Kishoiyan said.
Report by Mercy Rop
SELECTED DAY 1 RESULTS
1.Boniface Mweresa –LAB 47:09
2.Solom Bwoga Mtongwe-47:57
3.Saidi Rutto-Thika 48:69
1.Alphas Kishoiyan –MAB 47:14
2.Cornelius Tuwei- Nanyuki 47:40
3.Martin Kiplagat-NRB 49:30
1.Joseph Poghisho-Nanyuki 46:92
2.Gerald MOMANYI –EMBU 47:02
3.Kipkemoi Soi-Kahawa 47:02
1.Jonathan Kibet Gilgil –Gilgil 47:83
2.Jackton Njagi –Nanyuki 48:52
3.Robert Yego-Kahawa 48:89
1.Emmanuel Kipsang –MTG 28:28:1
2.Stephene Arita – NRB 28:44:2
3. Kiplimo Mutai – LAB 28:49:0
4 Leonard Oloitipte- LAB 29:01:1
5.Vincent Kiprono -KAH 29:02:9
1.Winnie Chebet –TKA 4 :14:4
2.Judy Kyeng –MAB 4:15:1
3.Hellen Obiri-LAB 4:16:1
4.Sela Jepleting –LNT 4 :17:9
5.Eddah Moraa-LAB 4:26:3
1.Hellen Obiri –LAB 15:21:8
2.Joycline jepkosgei-MAR 15:40:0
3.Sheila Chepkirui – TKA 15:42:4
4.Doris Changeiywo –EMB 16:25:0
5.Lynet Chepkirui-MAB 16:26:6
1.Spte Chesang –Isiolo 9:51:0
2.Marion Kiboro-Kahawa 9:57:5
3.Mercy Njoroge –LAB 10:04:8