New Commonwealth Games champions Hellen Obiri (5,000m) and Conseslus Kipruto (3,000m steeplechase) now want to add the Africa and World Cup titles to their collection this year.
Obiri, who is also the World 5,000m champion and Kipruto, the Olympic and World 3,000m steeplechase gold medallist, have also set their sights on taking a shot at their respective races’ world records.
The athletes were speaking upon arrival in the country from Gold Coast where they upheld their global dominance to claim the “Club Games” gold medals, eight months after similar exploits at the World Championships in London.
Obiri, the 2016 Rio Olympics 5,000m silver medallist, guided Africa 5,000m champion Margaret Chelimo to a 1-2 feat in women’s 5,000m, clocking 15 minutes and 13.11 seconds.
Chelimo timed 15:15.28 in a race where their colleague and youngster Eva Cherono settled seventh but in a personal beast of 15:36.10.
Kipruto smashed the Games Record on his way to winning the men’s 3,000m steeplechase in 8:10.08 as compatriots Abraham Kibiwott and Amos Kirui sealed the other podium places in 8:10.62 and 8:12.24 respectively.
While Kipruto arrived the previous day aboard Emirates flight, Obiri jetted into the country Wednesday morning aboard a Kenya Airways plane alongside Chelimo, Cherono, Kibiwott and Kirui.
The rest of the athletes too expressed their desire to make the Africa Championships team.
The Africa Senior Athletics Championships is set for August 1-5, in Asaba, Delta-State of Nigeria where Africa will select its team for the IAAF Continental Cup (World Cup) planned for September 8-9 this year in Ostrava, Czech Republic.
Obiri will be going for her second Africa title, this time round in 5,000m after winning the 1,500m crown in 2014 in Casablanca, Morocco to qualify for the World Cup held the same year at the same venue. Obiri finished fourth.
“It good to have the two titles in my profile before defending my World title next year in Doha,” said the 28-year-old Kenya Defence Forces Corporal, who was received at the airport by her husband Tom Simon and father Isack Obiri Obure.
“I also want to lower my personal best this season and perhaps break the World Record,” added Obiri, who has a personal best of 14:18.37 set on June 8, 2017 in Rome. The time, which is a National record, is the fifth fastest time ever in 5,000m where Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba holds the WR time of 14:11.15 from June 6, 2008 in Oslo.
OBIRI SET FOR DOHA MEET
Obiri starts her 2018 Diamond League series in Doha on May 5, battling in 3,000m. She set her 3000m personal best of 8:20.68 at the same event in 2014.
“It feels great to bag my first Commonwealth title on my debut. I thank God for that,” said Kipruto. “However, as I stated earlier, I will be incomplete without the Africa and Continental Cup titles, and ultimately the World Record.”
Kipruto set his personal best of 8:00.12 at Birmingham on June 5, 2016 while Kenyan-born Qatari Saif Saaeed Shaheen (Stephen Cherono) holds the World Record of 7:53.63 set on September 3, 2004 in Brussels.
Kipruto starts his 2018 Diamond League series in Shanghai on May 12 where he will compete in 5,000m before going back to his specialty at Prefontaine Classic in Eugene on May 26.