Obiri targets fast finish, gold

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By BERNARD ROTICH
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As the IAAF World Championships draw to a close on Sunday night, Kenyan athletes in the women’s 5,000m will be seeking to add more medals to boost the country’s final ranking.

Olympic silver medallist Hellen Obiri will lead Africa champion Sheila Chepkirui and 2015 Africa Games champion Margaret Chelimo in the hunt for the 5,000m title where Ethiopia’s 10,000m winner Almaz Ayana will be gunning for a double.

Ayana was beaten in this race by Kenya’s Vivian Cheruiyot at last year’s Rio Olympics and might not be infallible tonight too.

Cheruiyot has since moved up to the marathon where she ran a brilliant 2:23 on her debut in London last April and the world is waiting to see if Obiri will fit in her shoes.

Obiri told the Nation Sport that she will do her best to silence Ayana.

“I want to follow her in every move from behind and it will be tough for her if we get to the last 400m since she doesn’t have a final kick,” said a confident Obiri.

Chelimo said that having qualified to the final, she will be seeking nothing short of a slot on the podium.

“The event is tough and it’s bringing out mixed results but my prayer is to do well and be on the podium,” said Chelimo.

“My training was good and I really appreciate what our coaches did for us in terms of preparations.”

Chelimo is the 2015 Africa Games gold medallist and claimed silver in the Africa Championships in Durban last year.

Chepkirui has had a good career in the juniors where she won gold in 1,500m at the World Youth Championships 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 broke a championship record in the 5,000m in the Africa Championships held in Durban last year.

After the disappointment of failing to win a medal in the 1,500m, Ethiopia-born Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan will be seeking to make amends in tonight’s 5,000m final.

Hassan gave Kenya’s eventual gold medal winner Faith Chepng’etich a scare in the last lap of the 1,500 metres before running out of gas in the home straight to finish fifth position.

Other athletes to watch out for will be World Cross Country Championships junior champion Letesenbet Gidey from Ethiopia who also won in her heat.

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