Obiri leads 5,000m medals charge

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By AYUMBA AYODI
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Olympic silver medallist Hellen Obiri along with Margaret Chelimo and Sheila Kiprotich are now focused on Sunday’s 5,000 metres final after coasting through Thursday night’s semi-finals unscathed.

Obiri says she is more relaxed focusing on the 5,000m alone unlike at last year’s Rio Olympics where she doubled up, also running the 1,500m.

“I qualified easily for the final because I had trained well and having done that with my teammates, we will plan how to get the medals.

“This year I decided to concentrate on one race unlike last year where I doubled up in others and I know results will be good,” said Obiri.

Obiri added that she prefers a fast race because a slow one would be competitive, giving room for anyone to win.

“I want a fast race because a slow one anybody can win and it will be advantageous on my side since I can try to break the record,” said the Kenya Defence Forces athlete.

On Almaz Ayana who loves front-running, Obiri said that she will use the Ethiopian as a pacemaker and to put all her efforts in the final lap.

“Ayana who is fond of going fast ahead of everyone will have it hard this time round. I will follow her from behind. She has a poor kick in the last lap and I will take advantage of that and beat her,” said Obiri. Chelimo on the other hand will be looking forward to a good run though she admits the competition is stiff this time round.

“I’m happy I made it to the final. I will be looking forward to a good run, although I know it will be competitive. I want to be in the medal bracket and make my country proud,” said the Eldoret-based athlete.

Chelimo won gold medal in the Africa Games in Brazzaville in 2015 before taking silver medal in the Africa Championships in Durban last year.

Chepkirui has had good career since she was junior when she won gold in 1,500m in the World Youth Championships held in Marrakech in 2005 before winning bronze in the same event in Ostrava in 2007.

She was also second at the Africa Cross Country Championships held in Yaoundé, Cameroon, in the senior category last year.

She also broke a course record in the 5,000m in the Africa Championships held in Durban last year by winning gold medal.

She said after the semi finals that the race was tough but she will be giving her best in the finals so that she can have something to take home.

Athletics Kenya’s Athletes’ Representative and former world champion in the 3,000m steeplechase, Milcah Chemos, said that she is confident that the three ladies will give Kenyan’s something good in the final.

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