Athletics Athletics

I am in the form of my life, declares Obiri

Olympic 5000m silver medallist Hellen Obiri winning at the Kenyan World Championships National Trials. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 28- Olympic 5000m silver medalist Hellen Obiri has declared she is in the form of her life ahead of August’s IAAF World Athletics Championships in London and has set her target at bringing home the gold medal in the 12-and-a-half lap race.

Obiri, who ran a blistering 14:18.37 at the Rome leg of the IAAF Diamond League early June setting a new National Record, Personal Best and a World Leading time, says she is ready to fill in the void left by star Vivian Cheruiyot who has transited to road running.

“One thing I believe is that I am in a shape that I have never been in my life. I will work hard and I believe that I am going to do something in London. I know there will be stiff competition especially from the Ethiopians, but I am not afraid of them,” Obiri told Capital Sport.

“There is Almaz Ayana who I have not seen her race this year and Genzebe Dibaba. I know they are strong athletes but I am not scared of them,” stated the 27-year old mother of one daughter.

Kenya’s Vivian Cheruiyot (R) and Hellen Obiri celebrate after taking gold and silver respectively in the women’s 5000m

Obiri won silver behind gold medallist Cheruiyot in the London Olympics ahead of Ethiopian Ayana, the reigning world champion and 10,000m world record holder who grabbed bronze.

Ethiopians dominated the race during the last World Championships in Beijing 2015 with Ayana leading a 1-2-3 sweep as Senberi Teferi and Dibaba won silver and bronze respectively.

The best placed Kenyan was Viola Kibiwott who finished fourth as Mercy Cherono, Janet Kisa and Irene Cheptai followed in fifth, sixth and seventh in that order.

Obiri will lead Margaret Chelimo in the hunt for the 5000m gold medal in London and she believes with her experience, the team will deliver the elusive title that a Kenyan last won in 2011 Daegu Worlds when Cheruiyot claimed double.

Hellen Obiri (leading) competing at the Kenyan Trials for the IAAF World Championships at Nyayo National Stadium.PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

“Vivian (Cheruiyot) is not there anymore but I believe we are a strong team. The first target is to get into the final because it is not anybody’s game when it comes to the World Championships. Once we are there, we have to work as a team and I am confident we will win gold,” added Obiri who trains in Ngong.

The National Trials was Obiri’s fourth race this year having run at the Shanghai leg of the Diamond League winning the race in 14:22.47, then heading to Eugene where she ran the 1500m race in 4:00.46 to finish second.

Her only World Championship medal came in 2013 when she won bronze in the 1500m race.

She has also revealed plans of next year taking a shot at the World Record of 14:11.15 held by Ethiopian great Tirunesh Dibaba.

“It is not easy because it requires you to run a 14:12 or 14:13 constantly for some time. This year, I can’t say I will make an attempt for it. My only target now is the World Championships. Next year, maybe I will give it a try,” Obiri revealed.