Obiri outpaces Jepkosgei to retain KDF title

Friday January 12 2018

Hellen Obiri crosses the finish line to win the women's 10km race at the Kenya Defence Forces Cross Country on January 12, 2018 at Moi Airbase. PHOTO | AYUMBA AYODI |

Hellen Obiri crosses the finish line to win the women's 10km race at the Kenya Defence Forces Cross Country on January 12, 2018 at Moi Airbase. PHOTO | AYUMBA AYODI |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By AYUMBA AYODI
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World 5,000m champion Hellen Obiri from Laikipia Airbase withstood a late charge from World Half marathon record holder Joyciline Jepkosgei to retain Kenya Defence Forces Cross Country women's 10km title on Friday.

Obiri, who is also the 2016 Rio Olympics 5,000m silver medallist, went shoulder-to-shoulder with Marsabit's Jepkosgei in the last four kilometres at the Moi Airbase before the World champion broke in the last kilometre to win in 33 minutes and 32.6 seconds.

The feat saw Obiri complete a hat-trick, having reclaimed the title she won for the first time in 2014 last year before defending it on Friday.

Jepkosgei, who is hoping to make the team for the World Half Marathon championships in Valencia, Spain in March, this year, settled second in 33:38.4.

NENKAMPI THIRD

Perin Nenkampi, who is making a comeback from maternity leave, came in third in 33:57.0 after failing to keep up with Obiri and Jepkosgei's pace in the last four kilometres.

"I am happy to defend my title considering that the field was strong and I was under pressure especially with Jepkosgei, who also has the World 10km record in the field," said Obiri, who is hoping to represent Kenya at the World Indoor championships set for March in England and Commonwealth Games in April.

"I knew the title was mine when we went into the final two kilometres together. I knew I had a good kick compared to Jepkosgei."

Jepkosgei said the event is a warm up ahead of the RAK Half Marathon due February 9 this year and World Half Marathon planned for March 24 in Valencia, Spain.

"I tried to charge in the last four kilometres but Obiri kept on pushing. She had a good kick and utilised it well in the last lap," said Jepkosgei, adding that she will forego the Commonwealth Games for the World Half Marathon because the two events are too close.