NAIROBI, Kenya, May 19 – After setting an African, IAAF Diamond League, meet and national record at the opening IAAF Diamond League meeting in Doha, Worlds 1500m bronze medallist, Hellen Obiri, is raring to burn the tartan at the third leg in Eugene, Oregon on May 31.
Before that, she has to make a stop at this weekend’s World Relay Championships in Bahamas where she is raring to ascend to the middle step of the podium for the second time in Kenyan colours in the women 4x1500m following her gold medal winning run at the 2012 World Indoor Championships in Istanbul, Turkey.
The World Indoors silver medallist, who pulled away from Moscow 5000m silver winner, Mercy Cherono over the last 80m to stop the clock at the amazing 8:20.68, said it will not be an easy as she seeks to defend her Prefontaine Classic title since she will take on World champion Abeba Aregawi in the Metric Mile showdown.
But the 24 years old told Capital Sport she will be banking on reproducing the form that carried her to a 3:58.58 stadium record she blasted to last year to stop Aregawi.
“I did not run in Shanghai, China because I will be in Bahamas for the World rely Championship but I will be available in Oregon to compete in 1500m and I hope I will maintain my form since I hold the stadium record.
“After this I will run one more and wait for Commonwealth Games trials then compete another before I take a rest,” the seasoned athlete told.
For Doha, Obiri revealed she was not expecting to emerge victorious since two-time World Indoor champion Genzebe Dibaba provided stiff competition after running to three indoor world records before dethroning her World indoor 3000m champion in Sopot, Poland in March.
“We were not expecting to win or set any record because we knew Genzebe was in good shape so we were targeting silver but we were surprised when we claimed a clean sweep.
“When the race began, Genzebe followed the pace makers so we agreed to run from behind because we did not want her to destroy us early. When we reached 300m, Cherono reacted, opening the gap as I followed Genzebe and when I saw she is not responding I decided to go after Cherono,” the Kenya Defence Forces Corporal explained.
“I knew I was strong in the last 200m same as Cherono and that’s why I followed her where she pushed me until I broke through to win the race,” she added.
Responding on whether she will go for the long-standing World record of 8:06.11 set by Chinese Wang Junxia in 1993, the 2012 World Indoor champion declared it will be difficult for now.
“At the moment it’s impossible to break the record because it’s very far and for someone to run 8:20 it’s not easy. But I’m very happy since this is the first time in 20 years we have tried to bring it closer.
“I think it will be broken in future by upcoming athletes if not me,” she affirmed.
Obiri thanked former two-time World junior champion, Cherono for enabling her set the continental record and hoped they will partner once again to at least beat her personal best.
“The victory was a combined effort and we worked together as a team giving each other morale until we won. It worked easily since I have trained with Cherono for a long time.”
Eye on Bahamas glory
With the inaugural World Relay Championships in Bahamas this weekend, Obiri was optimistic they will come home with the 4x1500m gold.
“We have a strong team of experienced ladies and I’m sure we will not miss gold and if things go well we will come with a World record since we had set one at the national trials.”
Obiri who was given a wildcard did not compete when the team that comprised of Cherono, Irene Jelagat, Anne Karindi, Peris Nenkampi, Sheila Chepng’etich and Faith Chepng’etich set a national record of 17:05.8.
After Bahamas, she will be eyeing a slot in the Commonwealth team and IAAF World Cup as she look forward on establishing herself first in 1500m.