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Hellen Obiri celebrates after winning the Kenya Defense Forces Cross COuntry Championship title at the Moi Airbase in Eastleigh on January 29, 2021. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

Athletics

Obiri warms up for RAK Half Marathon debut with KDF Cross Country victory

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 29 – World 5,000m champion Hellen Obiri warmed up for her debut at next month’s Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon with a well measured victory at the Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) Cross Country Championship at the Moi Airbase on Friday.

Obiri, also the reigning World Cross Country Champion, clocked 33:25.1 ahead of Laikipia Airbase teammate Joyce Chepkemoi who timed 33:32.6 to clinch the title. Sheila Chepkirui was third in 33:47.0.

The world champion won the KDF title for the fifth time having trounced everyone thrice in a row between 2017 and 2019, adding on to her 2014 title.

Meanwhile, Kibiwott Kandie clinched the men’s title after crossing the line in 29:24.5 to successfully defend his title ahead of Collins Koros who was second in 29.32.5 while Eric Kiptanui finished third in 29:40.5.

Kandie, also the world half marathon record holder as well as the National Cross Country Champion has now set his sights on going on to retain his national title next month.

“Today was tough because my teammates had equally prepared well. My focus now is an Olympic medal in the 10,000m. Whichever medal it will be I will be happy to win it. I will now put more focus on the track in readiness for the Olympics,” said Kandie.

Koros on his part said he has elated for a career best second place finish.

“I had trained so hard coming to today. I wanted to stay close to Kandie because he is the best. Personally, I wanted to finish I a good position. I have never been second place before. So you can imagine what I am feeling now. I took part in two Athletics Kenya series, in Machakos and Ol Kalou where I was sixth and fourth respectively. I go to the nationals with alot of confidence,” he declared.

Results

Men

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1.Kibiwot Kandie 29:24.5

2.Collins Koros 29:32.5

3.Eric Kiptanui 29:40.5

4.Joseph Karanja 29:47.4

5.Vincent Mutai 29:48.0

Women

1.Hellen Obiri 33:25.1

2.Joyce Chepkemoi 33:32.6

3.Sheila Chepkirui 33:47.0

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4.Nespine Chepleting 33:54.2

5.Irine Kimais 34:06.1

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