Athletics Athletics

Obiri not interested with World Cross, eyes World Championships

Hellen Obiri says she will be concentrating on winning the London IAAF World Championships in August.

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 29 – Despite having a perfect start in the Cross County season, Olympic 5000m silver medallist Hellen Obiri says she is not interested to compete in the IAAF World Cross Country Championships scheduled for Kampala, Uganda March 26.

Obiri, who won Sunday’s New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in Boston, confirmed that she will be putting all her effort in preparing for the London IAAF World Championships that will take place from August 4-13.

The 27-year-old Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) athlete unleashed the shocker after cruising to victory in Boston’s New Balance Indoor Grand Prix where she beat her main competitor Sifan Hassan from Netherlands, clocking 8:39.08 in 3000m race.

“I am so happy winning my first Indoor race this season and I hope to do well in 2017. There are a lot of activities this year and I am looking forward to have a good performance. I am not going to compete at World Cross because we have trials next month and will not be available so I will skip it and concentrate on World Championships,” Obiri, who won the Olympic silver at Rio Games revealed.

Obiri, based at the Laikipia Air Base (LAB), swept all the four cross country events she has competed so far, opening the season with a win at the first leg of Athletics Kenya Cross Country Series at Ngong Road Posta grounds in Nairobi, November 5, 2016.

She beat Africa 5,000m champion Sheila Chepkirui and two-time World Cross junior silver medallist Veronica Nyaruai to win in 31:03.9.

Her second race was at the Athletics Kenya Cross Country Series in Machakos where she beat a strong field, pulling away from Olympic 1,500m champion Faith Kipyegon Chepng’etich in the final lap to claim victory in 33:29.01.

Obiri then headed to Campaccio, an IAAF Cross Country Permit meeting, in San Giorgio su Legnano where she once again held off Chepng’etich by four seconds to smash the course record with a time of 18:36.

The 2012 World Indoor Champion returned home to compete in the KDF Cross Country and she did not disappoint either, clocking 32:49.08 to beat Olympic marathon champion Jemimah Sumgong to second place and reclaim the title she last won in 2014.

Obiri transited to long distance from 1500m in 2016 after taking 18-month break to welcome her first born.

During her stint in the three and half lap race, Obiri took bronze at the 2013 Moscow World Championships and won gold at the 2014 Africa Championships in Marrakech, Morocco.