NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 14 – Like a hungry lioness waiting on a mistake from it’s prey to pounce and feed, world champion Hellen Obiri pounced on a mistake from Ethiopian Gidey Letesenbet to win the season opening 5,000m race at the Monaco leg of the World Athletics Diamond League on Friday, clocking 14:22.12, setting a new meet record and a world lead as well.
The Ethiopian strode ahead of Obiri at the bell and sought to tire off the Kenyan before the home stretch, but a mistake to step out of the inside lane with 300m to go gave Obiri space to pox herself in and put up a superb finishing kick that she has now been famous for.
Obiri, who had earlier said she does not feel fully fit for the race put on the afterburners before establishing daylight between her and Gidey, to put up an impressive start to the Diamond League season.
World 10,000m champion Sifan Hassan looked to be Obiri’s biggest opponent on the day, but the stars aligned in the Kenyan’s favor when hassan dropped out of the race with two and a half laps left.
From then on, it was Obiri versus Gidey.
With Winny Chebet, a 1500m specialist doing pacing duties, Obiri and world steeplechase champion Beatrice Chepkoech kept themselves within the leading pack from the gun.
However, Chebet could not sustain the demands of a 5,000m race for long as she dropped off the leading pack at the 3,00m mark.
With three laps to go, it was a duel between Hassan, Gidey and Obiri, before Hassan dropped out.
Cheokoech finished sixth after clocking 14:55.01
Meanwhile, Ferguson Rotich could only finish eighth in the 800m race, clocking 1:45.48 in a race won by world champion Donovan Brazier who timed 1:43.15 in an American 1-2. Hoppel Bryce was second in 1:43.23.