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Jebet, Obiri to lead World Championships team

Wednesday August 21 2019

Agnes Jebet Tirop (front) of National Police Service sprints to the finishing line ahead of Kenya Defence Force's Hellen Obiri during Athletics Kenya Nationals Athletics Championship 10,000 metres women final at Nyayo National Stadium on August 21, 2019. PHOTO | FILE |

Agnes Jebet Tirop (front) of National Police Service sprints to the finishing line ahead of Kenya Defence Force's Hellen Obiri during Athletics Kenya Nationals Athletics Championship 10,000 metres women final at Nyayo National Stadium on August 21, 2019. PHOTO | FILE |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

AYUMBA AYODI
By AYUMBA AYODI
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World 10,000m bronze medallist Agnes Jebet and World 5,000m Hellen Obiri will fly the country's flag in 10,000m at the World Championships planned from September 28 to October 6 in Doha, Qatar.

The last 200m was a battle of the two World Cross Country champions as Jebet edged out Obiri in a sprint finish to win the women's 10,000m trials in 31 minutes and 25.00 seconds.

Obiri, who is the Commonwealth 5,000m, gave a strong chase but wilted with 30 metres to go to settle second in personal best 31:25.38.

Also joining them is Kenya Prison's Rosemary Wanjiru who came in third in 31:26.22.

Jebet from Kenya Police won the World Cross Country title in 2015 while Kenya Defence Forces' Obiri claimed the honours in 2019.

Jebet also got to clinch the National 10,000m title.

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Athletics Kenya director of competition Paul Mutwii had indicated earlier that the first two athletes to cross the line would gain automatic entry to the World event with selectors coming in to pick the third athlete.

However, Mutwii overturned the decision to pick first three athletes across the line since the field had all the country's top athletes.

"Clocking 31:25 at home is an amazing feat. It's actually a surprise victory for me considering the strong field that had Obiri, who has an explosive kick," said Jebet. "I have faced Obiri many times and she has emerged the winner. It feels good to beat her this time around."

Jebet is now keen on upgrading her bronze from London in 2017 to gold in Doha.

"2017 was my first time at that big stage where I managed personal best 31:03.50 for bronze. I have enough experience on track and I hope to uphold my form and good training to Doha," said Jebet, who thanked her coach Ibrahim Rotich and manager Giani Demadonna for their endearing support.

Jebet said they can easily silence Ethiopia's challenge with good planning. "Personally, I need to work on my kick in the last 200m," said Jebet.

Obiri was glad to finish second and make team Kenya where she is hoping to double in 10,000m and 5,000m.

"I want to go and defend my 5,000m title but also weigh if I will go for 10,000m title too," said Obiri.

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