Hellen Obiri, Kibiwott Kandie roar at KDF Championships

Hellen Obiri leads KDF Cross Country

Hellen Obiri (right) hits the front of the leading pack in the women's 10km race during the Kenya Defence Forces Cross Country Championships at Moi Airbase in Nairobi on January 07, 2021. 

Photo credit: Francis Nderitu | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Senior Sergeant Obiri from Laikipia Air Base clocked 15 minutes and 33.93 seconds for her seventh title.
  • Obiri, 32, edged out Nesphine Jepleting to second place in 15:42.9 as former Africa 5,000m champion Sheila Chepkirui, who is also the national 5,000m champion, once again finished third in 15:50.4.

World 5,000m champion Hellen Obiri retained her 5,000m title with Kibiwott Kandie signaling his return to capture the men's 10,000m crown as Kenya Defence Forces Athletics Championships got underway at Ulinzi Sports Complex, Lang'ata on Wednesday.

Senior Sergeant Obiri from Laikipia Air Base clocked 15 minutes and 33.93 seconds for her seventh title.

Obiri, 32, edged out Nesphine Jepleting to second place in 15:42.9 as former Africa 5,000m champion Sheila Chepkirui, who is also the national 5,000m champion, once again finished third in 15:50.4.

Embakasi Garisson's Kandie, the World Half Marathon Championships silver medallist, claimed his maiden 10,000m title after romping home in 28.02.47.

Kandie, who has been struggling with injuries, making a return only in March to finish second at Lille Half Marathon in France, beat Alfred Barkach, who once again settled second in 28:18.10.

Fredrick Muranga took third position in 28:34.3 at the two-day championships that is being held at the newly constructed complex for the first time. Kandie's last race on the track was in February 2021.

Obiri controlled the pace from the front and went all the way for her seventh victory.

"Even though I'm slowly moving to road racing, I am still strong on the track. I wanted to use this opportunity to gauge my speed and I am glad it's still there," said Obiri, who is undefeated since 2016.

"It was my plan to control the pace and that is how I was able to gauge my speed.," said the two-time Olympic 5,000m silver medallist and 2018 Commonwealth Games 5,000m champion.

Obiri, the 2018 National 5,000m champion said she will be seeking to recapture the National 5,000m title from her compatriot Chepkirui.

The National Athletics Championships get underway April 28-30 at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.

It's during the championships that Athletics Kenya will pick Team Kenya for the Africa Senior Athletics Championships programmed for June 8 to 12 in Mauritius.

"This is a beautiful, fast track that should produce good times especially in sprints," said Obiri, the 2013 World 1,500m bronze medallist.

Kandie declared that he is fully back after recovering from a nagging right knee injury.

"The race was quite competitive but I had prepared well," said Kandie, who took charge with 14 laps to go to win.

Kandie said his target this year is to win Championship races especially the World Athletics Championships due for July 15 to 24 in Oregon, United States and Commonwealth Games slatted from July 28 to August 8 in Birmingham, England.

"I feel OK now and the body has been responding well to training. The painful knee is now healed and I am ready to roll once again," said Kandie.

Mary Chege won the women's 100m hurdles final in a time of 14.65, beat Rukia Nusra and Priscila Tabunda close at second and third position in 14:74 and 14:81 respectively.

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