What you need to know:
- The world 10,000m silver medallist Hellen Obiri, who is also the two-time world 5,000m champion, will be defending her 5,000m crown starting at 10.20am in the three-day championships.
- The 2020 Tokyo Olympics 3,000m steeplechase bronze medallist Benjamin Kigen is out to affirm his prowess as forces steeplechase king as he seeks to seal his third successive crown starting at the semi-finals at 11.15am.
A stellar cast comprising Olympic, World and Commonwealth Games medallists will be on display at the Kenya Defence Forces Athletics Championships that get underway Wednesday at the Ulinzi Sports Complex, Nairobi.
World Half Marathon Championships silver medallist Kibiwott Kandie, who is also the Commonwealth Games 10,000m bronze medallist, will put his men’s 10,000 metres title on the line at 9.30am.
The world 10,000m silver medallist Hellen Obiri, who is also the two-time world 5,000m champion, will be defending her 5,000m crown starting at 10.20am in the three-day championships.
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics 3,000m steeplechase bronze medallist Benjamin Kigen is out to affirm his prowess as forces steeplechase king as he seeks to seal his third successive crown starting at the semi-finals at 11.15am.
It will be Kandie’s third race of the season, having finished fifth at 44th World Athletics Cross Country Championship in Bathurst, Australia on February 18 and second during the Adizero Road to Records 10km race on April 29 in Germany.
Kandie, the former half marathon world record holder, clocked 28 minutes and 02.45 seconds to win last year as the newly opened Ulinzi Sports Complex staged its first track and field championships.
Kandie from Embakasi beat Alfred Barkach from Moi Airbase, who finished second in 28:10.39, as Isiolo’s Fredrick Moranga settled third in 28:34.42. They will all renew rivalry in the race that has 43 contestants.
“I am ready to defend my title. Last year was nice after I won my first 10,000m title. My body feels great after the race in Germany and I feel confident of getting good results,” said Kandie.
Obiri, who is fresh from winning the Boston Marathon in April and Great Manchester 10km on Sunday, will be seeking her fifth crown in the 5,000m race. She holds previous wins from 2016, 2017, 2021 and 2022.
Laikipia Airbase’s Obiri retained her title last year, clocking 15:33.91, beating Nesphine Jepleting from Isiolo and Sheila Chepkirui of Thika to second and third places in 15:42.94 and 15: 50.41 respectively.
The duo will once again go for each other’s jugular in the race that has 25 entrants.
Obiri, who clocked a personal best of two hours, 21 minutes and 38 seconds to win the Boston Marathon on April 17, is still favourite especially after sealing her third Great Manchester Run 10km title with a successful title defence in 31:14 on Sunday.
On the other hand, Chepkirui, the Commonwealth Games 10,000m bronze medallist, is fresh from finishing fourth at the London Marathon in 2:18:51 on April 23.
National 400 metres hurdles champion Wiseman Were and Hannah Mwangi, who set new meet records at the Absa Kip Keino Classic, arefavourites in their respective races.
Were, who holds the KDF 400mh and 110mh titles, clocked 49.49 seconds to put away the men’s race, as Mwangi dipped home in a personal best of 57.44 to reign in the women’s race.
“I am ready for the championships and hope to improve on my personal best further after Kip Keino's inspiring show,” said Mwangi as training mate Ruskia Nusra sounded a clear warning ahead of the women's 100mh.
Nusra has won four of the six Athletics Kenya Track and Field Meetings. “I didn’t perform well last year since I had just graduated. I am in tip top shape now,” said Nusra.