Kenya’s Obiri the athlete to beat in 5,000m at World Championships 

NAIROBI, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) — It will take something special to stop Olympic 5,000m silver medallist Helen Obiri of Kenya from grabbing the gold medal at the London World Championships, which has curtains rising on Thursday.

 

When you’ve finished 10th, eighth, third and second at four World championships, there’s only one place left to progress and that is to the top of the podium. That will be Hellen Obiri’s goal as she lines up for the 5000m in London.   “I have to take over this mandate with no Vivian Cheruiyot or Sally Kipyegon or Mercy Cherono. I feel strong and will let the legs do the talking for me,” said Obiri on Wednesday in a telephone interview from London. Obiri, 27, finished in position 10 over 1500m on her international championships debut at the World Championships in Daegu (2011).She then placed eighth at the 2012 Olympics and took bronze at the 2013 Moscow World Championships.

 

Following a break in 2015 to give birth to her daughter, Obiri soon returned to form in 2016 and took silver over 5000m at the Olympic Games. “Now I have the experience and fitness to take on the world’s best. I want to run fast, but the world title is not my inspiration. Winning gold in London is the target,” she added.  It’s not just a matter of fast times, though; it’s the way she has won races – with fast final kilometres that no one can match – that makes her the favourite for London. But that does not mean it will go down easy for her in London. Obiri will come up against one of the toughest competitors in Ethiopian trio Almaz Ayana, Genzebe Dibaba and Senbere Teferi.

 

Ayana and Dibaba are two of the four women who stand above Obiri on the world all-time list, boasting personal best times of 14:12.59 and 14:15.41 respectively.  But Ayana will be heading into the World Championships having not raced at all this year, while Dibaba was soundly beaten by Obiri in Rome. Teferi, the world silver medallist, could in fact be Ethiopia’s best bet of a medal in this event. And as Ayana has a wild card, Ethiopia will have a fourth entrant, two-time world U20 cross-country champion Letesenbet Gidey, who became the second-fastest U20 athlete in history when clocked 14:33.32 earlier this year.  British hope lies with Laura Muir, while Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands who is doubling up in both the 1,500m and the 5,000m.There is also Turkey’s double European champion Yasemin Can, German talent Konstanze Klosterhalfen and Shelby Houlihan of the USA.