Kenya’s Obiri to skip world cross-country, focus on London worlds

Nairobi, Jan 31 (IANS) Rio Olympics 5,000 metres silver medallist Hellen Obiri will skip the World Cross Country Championships in Kampala in March to focus on the upcoming London World Championships in August.

Obiri, 27, will instead seek to polish her skills and cover up the miles to improve her endurance before setting her focus on competing in the energy supping IAAF Diamond League, starting in May in Doha and the World Championships, reports Xinhua news agency.

“My focus is on the world championships. I have competed in cross country, but that should not mean that I intend to compete for Kenya in Uganda in March,” Obiri said on Monday.

“There are more races slated on my programme this season and I am looking forward to have a good performance. I am not going to compete at World Cross because I will skip the Kenyan trials for world cross in February to concentrate on World Championships,” she explained.

Obiri, who won Sunday’s New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in Boston, confirmed that she is keen to add gold to her collection in the 5,000m outdoor distance.

Obiri has been strong in her cross country quest winning in Nairobi, Machakos and Campaccio, an IAAF Cross Country Permit meeting, in San Giorgio su Legnano in Italy.

The 2012 World Indoor Champion also competed at her military unit during the Kenya Defence Forces Cross Country where she beat Olympic marathon champion Jemimah Sumgong to second place.

Obiri expects stiff challenge in the 5,000m race from Ethiopians and Kenyan opponents including Meseret Defer, Tirunesh Dibaba, Almaz Ayana, Mercy Cherono, Viola Kibiwott and Senbere Teferi (Ethiopia).

Obiri took bronze at the 2013 Moscow World Championships and won gold at the 2014 Africa Championships in Marrakech, Morocco competing in the 1,500m races.

–IANS

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