Obiri lights up KDF championship - Daily Nation

Hellen Obiri lights up KDF championship

Wednesday June 6 2018

Hellen Obiri competes in the women's 5000m finals during the Kenya Defence Force Athletics Championship at Kasarani Stadium on June 6, 2018. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |

Hellen Obiri competes in the women's 5000m finals during the Kenya Defence Force Athletics Championship at Kasarani Stadium on June 6, 2018. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By AYUMBA AYODI
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World and Commonwealth 5,000m champion Hellen Obiri lived up to her billing crushing a fine field to seal her third consecutive victory in her specialty during the Kenya Defence Forces Athletics Championships on Wednesday at Kasarani Stadium.

Obiri, the 2016 Rio Olympics 5,000m silver medallist, took control with eight laps to go to triumph in 14 minutes and 48.5 seconds.

Obiri, who is representing Laikipia Air Base, reigned supreme by over 200m, beating Joyciline Koima from Mtongwe to second place in 15:03.6, as Kahawa's Gladay Kimana came in third in 15:06.8.

"My body is slowly recovering after a poor show in Doha and Prefontaine legs of the Diamond league last month," said Obiri, who now turns focus to the National Championships due June 21 to 23 at Kasarani.

Obiri finished 14th in the 3,000m race in Doha on May 5, before settling for third in 5,000m at Prefontaine Classic on May 26 in Eugene, USA.

Athletics Kenya will use the nationals to select a team for Africa Senior Athletics Championships planned for August 1 to 5 in Assaba, Nigeria.

It's in Assaba where Africa will pick it's team for the IAAF Intercontinental Cup/World Cup due for September 8 and 9 in Ostrava, Czech Republic.

"My desire now is to win both the Africa and World Cup titles," said Obiri.

Bonface Mucheru competes in the 400m hurdles during the Kenya Defence Force Athletics Championship at Kasarani Stadium on June 6, 2018. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Bonface Mucheru competes in the 400m hurdles during the Kenya Defence Force Athletics Championship at Kasarani Stadium on June 6, 2018. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Kahawa's Cyrus Rutto enhanced his chances of sealing a hat-trick when he won his 5,000m semi-final race in 13:50.0, beating Vedick Cheruiyot from Mtongwe in 13:50.7.

Rutto, who represented Kenya at the World Championships in London last year, is also targeting the national and continental title on his way to the World Cup.

Peter Ndegwa of Moi Air Base finished third in the semis to also qualify for the final.

Simon Njuguna clocked 14:00.0 to win the second semi-final.

William Mbevi, who represented Kenya at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, and Edward Ngunjiri won their respective 400m hurdles semi-finals to reach the final due for Thursday.

Thika's Ngunjiri clocked 52.0 to win, relegating the 2016 Rio Olympics 400m hurdles silver medallist Boniface Mucheru (Nanyuki) to second place in 52.1.

Geoffrey Kirui of Laikipia Air Base came in third in 55.4 to also qualify for the final.

It was Mucheru's first race since the 2016 Rio Olympics. The 2016 African Champion has been nursing injuries on both his legs.

Mbevi timed 51.6 to triumph, edging out Kahawa's John Gikonyo and Ezekiel Bett of Thika in 52.6 and 52.8 respectively.

The 2014 Commonwealth 1,500m champion James Magut of Mtongwe timed 3:47.1 to win his 1,500m race to reach the final.

Laban Kiplimo (Embakasi) and Charles Simotwo (Kahawa) also won their respective 1 500m races to each the final.