Obiri, Kandie retain KDF Championship titles
What you need to know:
- In other events, national 400m hurdles and 110m hurdles champion Wiseman Were and Rusia Nusra won their respective 110mh and 100m preliminary round challenges with ease.
- Were, who is the defending champion in 400mh and 110mh, clocked 14.80 seconds to win the first semi-final in 110mh, beating John Kyego to second place in 15.78bas they both qualified for the final.
Boston Marathon champion Hellen Obiri and World Half Marathon silver medallist Kibiwott Kandie Wednesday retained their respective titles at the Kenya Defence Forces Athletics Championships at Ulinzi Sports Complex.
Obiri, the 2017 and 2019 world 5,000 metres champion, beat Commonwealth Games 5,000m bronze medallist Selah Jepleting in the last 200m to seal her fifth 5,000m crown.
The race was whittled down to a three-horse battle in the last four laps between Obiri, Jepleting and Cythia Chepngéno. Obiri, the world 10,000m silver medallist, and Jepleting exchange the lead, but it’s Jepleting who hit the bell first with Obiri and Chepngéno breathing down her neck.
Then Obiri stepped on her pistons to blast past Jepleting with 200m to go to triumph in 15 minutes and 19.70, beating Jepleting to second place in 15:21.36 as Chepngéno settled third in 15:23.36.
“I felt since I had to push to the limit with Jepleting not giving me any breathing space,” said Obiri, who is fresh from retaining her Great Manchester Run 10km title on Sunday in the United Kingdom.
“I had not competed at home this year hence my decision to come and represent my Laikipia Airbase team as well as defend my title,” explained Obiri. “Track will always give me the speed I need in a marathon.”
Obiri once again said that she won’t pitch for a place in Team Kenya for the World Athletics Championships scheduled for August 19 to 27 in Budapest, Hungary.
She disclosed that she will take her second stab at the New York City Marathon scheduled for November 5.
Obiri made her debut at the World Marathon Majors (WMM), finishing sixth at the New York City Marathon in two hours, 25 minutes and 49 seconds.
Obiri then won the Boston Marathon in 2:21.38 on April 17, before heading to the UK for a successful defence of her Great Manchester Run crown on Sunday.
“As I said earlier, I won’t compete in Budapest since I am not yet ripe for championship races in marathons. I think it will take me another one year to get that experience,” explained Obiri, who also won the KDF title in 2016, 2017 and 2021.
Kandie, the Commonwealth Games 10,000m bronze medallist, exerted his presence when he dropped the rest with eight laps to go, building his lead up to over 90m, before winning in 28:19.32.
Kandie, who finished fourth during the World Cross Country Championships in Australia in February, edged out Hillary Koech and Abel Mutai to second and third places in 28:35.20 and 28:43.76 respectively.
Kandie said he was confident of defending his title having finished second at the Adizero Road to Records 10km race on April 29 in Germany.
“This gives me a good build up since my focus is making Team Kenya for the world event in Budapest,” said Kandie.
Kandie won the national trials for the World Athletics Championships held last year in Eugene, but was left out after he had failed to hit the qualifying time.
Kandie now has the qualifying time in 10,000m for Budapest after he finished second at the Adizero Road to Records 10km in 26:53, surpassing the time of 27:10.00 for Budapest.
In other events, national 400m hurdles and 110m hurdles champion Wiseman Were and Rusia Nusra won their respective 110mh and 100m preliminary round challenges with ease.
Were, who is the defending champion in 400mh and 110mh, clocked 14.80 seconds to win the first semi-final in 110mh, beating John Kyego to second place in 15.78bas they both qualified for the final.
Also reaching the final is Michael Musyoka, who won the second semi-final in 14.58, seeing off William Mbevi in 14.83.
"Things look good for me and I hope to hit the qualifying score of 48.70 for Budapest," said Were.
Nusra, the 110mh specialist, was in imperious form, clocking 12.12 to win the second semi-final in women’s 100m, beating Beatrice Jerono and Patricia Isiah in 12.84 and 12.92 as the trio eased through to the final.