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World Champions spectators at trials

Friday September 13 2019

Kenya's Hellen Obiri celebrates after winning the women's 3000m during the IAAF Diamond League competition on May 3, 2019 in Doha. PHOTO | KARIM JAAFAR |

Kenya's Hellen Obiri celebrates after winning the women's 3000m during the IAAF Diamond League competition on May 3, 2019 in Doha. PHOTO | KARIM JAAFAR |  AFP

AYUMBA AYODI
By AYUMBA AYODI
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World champions Hellen Obiri (5,000 metres) and Elijah Manang’oi (1,500m) will not compete in their respective races as the trials for the IAAF World Championships end on Friday at the Nyayo National Stadium.

And 2015 world javelin champion Julius Yego and Mathew Sawe, the Africa high jump title holder, will also watch from the terraces as their rivals tussle, having opted to focus their energies on preparing for the World Championships slated for September 27 to October 6 in Doha.

The quartet have already qualified for the Doha championships and wish to offer their protégés some breathing space.

Obiri, who has already qualified by virtue of being the defending champion, yesterday said she wants to reserve her energies for Doha, having already made the women’s 10,000m team earlier.

“I will just come to watch as I tighten my training programme, knowing that it won’t be easy doubling up in Doha,” said the 29-year-old Obiri who is the reigning world cross country champion and 2016 Rio Olympics’ 5,000m silver medallist.

It will be Obiri’s fourth appearance at the World Championships having finished 11th in the 1,500m at the 2011 championships Daegu before winning bronze in the metric mile in 2013 in Moscow.

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She later scaled up to the 5,000m to win gold at the 2017 London championships, a year after claiming silver at the Rio Olympics.

Just like Obiri, Manang’oi, who has just recovered from a hamstring injury, said he wants to gain full fitness in the next two weeks before Doha.

“I am glad his injury is completely healed and he is ready to defend his World title,” said Manang’oi’s coach Ben Ouma. Manang’oi is also the Continental Cup and Commonwealth 1,500m champion.

Yego, who qualified during the National Championships and Africa Games where he hauled 84.16 and 87.73 metres, has also chosen conserve his energies for Doha.

“There is always tension when I am in the field and I think staying out will eases things. I believe they can still hit the 2020 Tokyo qualifying mark of 85 metres,” said Yego, who is eager to also attain the Olympic qualifying mark in Doha.

Sawe qualified on two occasions from last year when he won at the Kenya Defence Forces and Africa Championships in Nairobi and Asaba, Nigeria scaling 2.30m in both events.

The qualifying standards for Doha is 2.30m. More so, what puts Sawe, who won silver at the just concluded African Games in Rabat, Morocco is his World ranking before the end of qualifying period on September 6 this year.

Sawe is currently ranked 22nd in the world.

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