Kenya’s 5,000m runner Obiri says past records to count for nothing

Nairobi, Aug 2 (IANS) Past achievements and time will be of no essence in the battle for gold in the women’s 5,000 metres race at the Rio Olympic Games. Moscow Worlds 1,500m bronze medallist Hellen Obiri of Kenya is returning from maternity leave with a lot of energy to redeem her career.

It will be the second Olympics for Obiri in as many attempts though she has strategically shifted gear from the four lap race (1,500m) to the 12-lap distance (5,000), reports Xinhua,

“Going into motherhood was something I had planned for and I had my time to recover from it. But I became slower for the 1,500m and I have shifted to the longer 5,000 with ease and am ready to have myself counted among the top runners in the race.

“But it will be hard. We have some strong athletes with faster times and big titles in the race. But I always do my part and run my race,” said Obiri.

Indeed, if records and titles was anything to go by, Obiri would turn out to be unlikeliest candidate for medal in the race. There is Mercy Cherono, the former world 5,000m silver medallist, then there is Vivian Cheruiyot a double winner at the 2011 Daegu world championships and the current world champion in 10,000m.

Ethiopia will be bringing Almaz Ayana who holds the world lead at 14:12.59 minutes, Genzebe Dibaba and Senbere Teferi all with fast times. But that has not stopped Obiri from focusing on the bigger task, to win her maiden gold.

“I was not in good shape in London in 2012. To finish tenth (1,500m) was not what I wanted but sometimes it goes against your planning. Now I am ready and focused and hopefully, will strike it within my strides,” she said.

Regardless of how the race is run, Obiri is building up confidence. She will be up to the task and nobody will stand in her way.

“My focus is to be on the podium. This is a championship race and time will not be significant. If the pace is high, I am good, if it is slow, I am good too,” she said.



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