NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 17 – Fresh from bagging her first Commonwealth Games gold, world champion Hellen Obiri says the win in the 5,000m has finally given her relief and a great start in outdoor competition after a poor showing at the World Indoor Championships.
Obiri, 27, started off the season on a sour note in Birmingham, England with a fourth place finish in the 3,000m indoor race.
However, she found her strength and challenged for medals at the Commonwealth Games and finally won over the 5,000m distance.
“It has been a blessing in Australia and I’m happy to be the new Commonwealth Games champion over 5,000m. It is a nice way to start my outdoor season,” she said.
The World 5,000m champion, who had to shed 25 kilograms after the delivery of her child to return to competition, says the poor start to 2018 was a wake-up call for her over the potential challenge she faces in her quest to dominate the long distance races.
“In Birmingham, it was not quite the World Indoor Championships I wanted but I kept working hard to make myself the best I can be,” she added.
Obiri, who returns home together with the rest of the Kenyan contingent from the Commonwealth Games, says there will be no room for rest as she quickly wants to get into better form ahead of her outdoor season in the lucrative Diamond League circuit, which has 14 stops spread across Asia, Africa, Europe and USA.
“I can confirm that I will be running in Doha. It gives me great joy to return to the Qatari capital to compete in the 3,000m event at the Doha Diamond League,” she said.
Obiri will be aiming to improve on her previous performance. The Olympic silver medallist leads a strong field of Kenyans, which includes 2013 World Youth Champion and 2014 World Junior silver medalist in the 3,000m, Lilian Kasait Rengeruk and fifth-place finisher at the 2017 World championships, Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi.
Reigning 1500m world silver medalist and Olympic bronze medalist, Jenny Simpson of the USA, will move up to the longer distance in Doha and will provide a strong challenge for the Kenyans.
Obiri enjoyed an outstanding 2017 season, claiming the overall 5,000m Diamond League trophy following victories in Shanghai and Rome, as well as winning the 3,000m in Monaco and taking a new meeting record over one mile at the Muller Anniversary Games in London.
However, 20-year-old teammate Rengeruk has shown strong form already this season, winning team gold at the 2018 World Cross Country Championships in Uganda and taking individual bronze, proving the youngster is one-to-watch and setting up an exciting head-to-head in May.