Nairobi — World Champion Hellen Obiri says she had to calculate her moves well and use common sense to storm to victory in the women's 5000m gold at the ongoing Africa Athletics Championships in Asaba, Nigeria.
Dominating victory by Obiri in the 5000m highlighted the second day of action on Thursday, handing Kenya her first gold.
Obiri clocked 15:47.18 to win by more than ten seconds and secure her spot on the African squad for the IAAF Continental Cup Ostrava 2018, where the distance she'll race will be the 3000m.
"It was very hot but I know I prepared well," Obiri said. "In championship races you use your common sense on when you should go. I was feeling good so decided that was the best time."
"It will be a hard race so I plan to prepare more over the next few weeks," she said.
Behind her, Ethiopians filed through single file to take spots two through four. Senbere Teferi Sora took silver in 15:56.48, ahead of Meskerem Mamo who clocked 15:57.38 for bronze. Hawi Feysa was next in 15:59.23, more than five seconds clear of Kenyan Lilian Kasait.
Even after a cautiously sluggish pace in the early going, the pack in the women's 5000m was reduced to six by the race's midway point, predictably made up of a trio of Ethiopians and a trio of Kenyans, and mostly led by Obiri who exuded a confidence and power the other runners probably wished was infectious.
When she made her break with about three-and-a-half laps to go, it was clear that at least that power wasn't.
Pounding the track alone through the late afternoon sun, the reigning world champion quickly jumped to a 20-metre lead, extending it steadily as she made her way for home. Indeed, nobody was willing or capable of mounting a challenge.