Sparkling Obiri retains 5,000m KDF title

Olympic silver medalist and World champion Helen Obiri is now in the hunt for the IAAF Continental Cup title slated for September 8-9 in Ostrava, Czech Republic,  after successfully defending her 5,000m during the Kenya Defence Forces  Athletics Championships  on Thursday 6 at the Moi International Sports Center, Kasarani, Nairobi.

With the continental title the only missing medal in her glittering cabinet, the Commonwealth champion asserted her desire to book her ticket for the CAA Africa Championships set for August 1-5 in Asaba, Nigeria during the national trials scheduled for this June 21-23.

In her post race interview, the 2012 World Indoor champion  expressed confidence  of erasing the 2014 disappointment where she finished fourth (4:08.15)  in the 1,500m in the competition .

“I’m happy to have retained my titles which have won back to back from 2016. Right now I will be preparing for the national trials. It will be my first time to compete in Africa Championships in the 5,000m event.

“My first time was in 2014 when I won the 1,500m title. My main target is the Continental Cup. I hope that I will make it to Team Kenya since I have got enough time to rest before the next Diamond League event,” said Obiri.

Obiri made light work of her opponents during the women’s 5000m final on the first day of the championships, winning a gold medal for her team Laikipia Air Base in 14 minutes, 48.5 seconds, almost a minute ahead of Joyline Koima of Kenya Navy (KN)  Mutongwe who settled for second place in 15:03.6.

Gladys Kimana of Kahawa Garrison took third place in 15:06.8. Meanwhile, Rio Olympic 400m hurdles silver medallist Boniface Mucheru confirmed that he will not defend his 2016 African title due to hamstring injury on both legs.

The 2012 Africa Championships bronze medallist said that he will only compete at the KDF Championships then focus on his recovery.

“I had two very bad seasons because of injuries but I thank God today I was able to compete. I have not been able to compete for a long time or even lift my legs over the hurdles.

“This season I shall only compete at the KDF Championships and take a rest, before focusing on next year’s World Championships,” said the Laikipia Airbase based Mucheru.

In another final of the day, Eric Kiptanui took the 10,000m crown to add it to his Kenya Army Athletics Championships won last month.

Kiptanui of Embakasi Garrison out sprinted Leonard Olotiptip of Laikipia Air Base to take the race top honours in 28:17.1, as Olotiptip came second  in 28:21.4. Eric Tirop of Thika clocked 28:22.8 to take third place.

Meanwhile, London World Championships finalist Cyrus Rutto (13:50.0) of Garrisa will battle it out with among others, Vedic Cheruiyot (13:50.1) of Kenya Navy and Peter Ndegwa (13:5.2) of Marsabit in the men’s 5,000m finals set for Thursday.

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