NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 21 – World champions Hellen Obiri and Faith Kipyegon will anchor Kenya’s team to the 2018 World Indoor Championships in Birmingham, England in March.
Kipyegon, the Olympic and world 1500m champion, who is yet to start her season, since her triumph over South African Caster Semenya in London world championships in August, has been in training and will focus on cross country before moving to the indoor competition.
“It will be a good experience for me. I have not competed in indoor competition yet and this season starting in January, it will be good to test my body and see how it feels,” Kipyegon said.
For Obiri, the 5000m world champion, it is her urge to recapture the World Indoor title that is inspiring her. She won the 2012 title in the 3,000 meters and together with compatriot Bethwel Birgen, the duo were awarded direct entry to next year’s World Indoor Championships set for Birmingham.
The two Kenyans were among 11 athletes to be given wild cards by IAAF following their victories in 2017 World Indoor Tour Series.
Obiri and Birgen, who won the 3,000m and 1,500m series, also received a bonus of Sh2mn (USD 20,000) each.
Obiri won this year’s New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in USA and Muller Indoor Grand Prix Birmingham, besides finishing second in Karlsruhe, Germany.
“My target was to get automatic ticket for World Indoor Championships where I want to reclaim my 3,000m title then focus on outdoor events,” Obiri asserted.
The Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia in April will be the main outdoor competition for Kenyan athletes this season.
The two events just one month apart, however, does not concern Obiri, who believes she has what it takes to compete in both and win.
“I have run races in between weeks and there will be enough time for me to rest and recover after Birmingham. The important thing is to compete and win,” she added.