Obiri strikes as Mokamba, Kishioyan keep their titles

Thursday July 04 2019

Champ Alphas Kishoyan (right) takes the last bend with Said Ruto in 400 metres final of the Kenya Defence Force Athletics Championship at Kasarani on July 4, 2019. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |


World 5,000 metres champion Hellen Obiri claimed her maiden 10,000 metres title while Alphas Kishoyian (400m) and Mike Mokamba (200m) retained their respectively crowns as the Kenya Defence Forces Athletics Championships ended Thursday at Kasarani.

Obiri (Laikipia Airbase), who was fresh from taking part in 3,000m at the Prefontaine Classic in California, USA, last Sunday, easily controlled the rich field before breaking clear to triumph in 31 minutes and 43.0 seconds.

It was a good return for Obiri - also the Continental Cup and Commonwealth 5,000m champion - after she fell and finished 12th in 5,000m race in Stockholm on May 20 before settling sixth in 3,000m at Prefontaine Classic.

World half marathon record holder Joyciline Jepkosgei (Modika), who had on Tuesday cashed in on the absence of title-holder Obiri to win the 5,000m crown, once again settled second in 31:43.8 in the 10,000m battle.

Last year, Jepkosgei also lost to Pauline Korikwiang (Moi Airbase).

Irene Kamais (Thika), who won the 10,000m race during the African Games trials a fortnight ago at the same venue, came in third in 32:04.6 as Korikwiang relinquished the title to sink to fourth in 32:21.0.


“I didn’t feel strong going into Prefontaine especially after I fell in Stockholm,” said Obiri, who hinted of going for a double at the World Championships (from September 28 to October 6) in Doha, Qatar. “It’s something I have been thinking about this being my first 10,000m race on track.”

Obiri disclosed that she will look for the Word Championships qualifying time in 5,000m at the London leg of the Diamond League on July 20-21 after the Stockholm mishap.

Kishoyian (MAB) retained his 400m title in 45.40, missing to beat the World Championships qualifying time by 0.1 seconds. Kishoyian, who now who turns his focus on the trials for the World event, after failing to qualify for the African Games.

Joseph Poghisio came in second in 45.7.