Kenyan great Hellen Obiri defended her title at the Kenya Defence Forces Athletics Championships at the Ulinzi Sports Complex on Wednesday.
Obiri, the 2017 and 2019 world 5000 metres champion, bettered Selah Jepleting, a Commonwealth Games medallist. It was Obiri’s kick that did her competitor in over the final half-lap of the 12.5-lap 5000m event.
Three were in contention after eight laps between Obiri, Jepleting and Cynthia Chepngéno. Obiri, the world 10,000m silver medallist, and Jepleting worked together exchanging leads. But it was Jepleting who heard the bell first with Obiri and Chepngéno trailing, readying to attack with that final kick.
With 200m to go, Obiri let loose with her trademark sprint, to fly past Jepleting and dropping Chepngéno to finish in 15:19.70. Jepleting to clocked a 15:21.36 performance for second and Chepngéno took third in the time of 15:23.36.
“I felt I had to push to the limit with Jepleting not giving me any breathing space,” said Obiri.
“Track will always give me the speed I need in a marathon.”
Obiri will attempt to defend her World Athletics 5000m title in August in Budapest, Hungary. However, apparently, she will be running the New York City Marathon in November.