Kenya: Obiri, Kandie to Spice Up KDF Meet

World 5,000m champion Hellen Obiri and former Africa 5,000m champion Sheila Chepkirui face off in women's 5,000m Monday as the Kenya Defence Forces Athletics Championships gets underway at Nyayo National Stadium.

Both athletes are in top form coming from magnificent preformance in races in Europe.

Obiri is fresh from finishing third at Istanbul Half Marathon in 1:04:51 on April 4, making her the fastest ever debutant in half marathon in the world.

Chepkirui, the national 5,000m champion, ruled the roost to win the Stockholm 25 laps to Tokyo 10,000m race in a world lead and personal best of 30 minutes and 45.81 seconds at Olympic Stadium in the Swedish capital.

The time also enabled Chepkirui attain the Tokyo Olympics qualifying standard in the 25-lap race.

"I already have the Olympic time in 10,000m and my focus is to try and attain the standard in 5,000m, " said Chepkirui.

Both Obiri, who won the KDF 10,000m title in 2019, and Chepkirui will be out to recapture the 5,000m crown.

Obiri skipped the 5,000m race for the 25-lap race in 2019 where Chepkirui settled third behind winner former world record holder in half marathon, Joycilline Jepkosgei.

Obiri, who went on to win the national 10,000m in 2019 before retaining her 5,000m at 2019 Doha World Championships where she also finished fifth in 10,000m, will be using the three-day championships to prepare for Doha Diamond League on May 28 this year. She will be looking to defend her 3,000m title at the Qatari capital.

Obiri will skip the 10,000m where Jepkosgei, who finished second will be out to capture the crown running against experienced Irene Kamais and Pauline Chemining among others.

"It's my wish to double up at the Olympics having attained the Olympic standards in both events," said Obiri, who claimed silver in 5,000m at the 2016 Rio Olympics. "It will be a good build up to Doha."

Peter Ndegwa will defend the men's 5,000m title while Vedic Cheruiyot will put men's 10,000m crown on line against a fine field that includes World Half Marathon silver medallist Kibiwott Kandie.

Kandie finished fifth in 2019 when the championships were last held.

Tecla Jerotich and Samuel Chege are the sprinters to beat in 200m where they will be defending their respective titles.

Priscilla Tabunda, fresh from winning bronze in shuttle mixed relay at the World Relays, is favourite in women's 100m hurdles.

Michael Musyoka and Wiseman Were, who was also in the bronze-winning shuttle relays team, will be in focus in men's 110 hurdles.

Mike Mokamba, who is also fresh from winning silver in 4x200m at the World Relays, is favourite to defend his 200m title with Queenector Kisembe putting women's 200m on the cutting edge.

Continental Cup 1,500m champion Winnie Chebet hopes to defend her 800m and 1,500m crowns while champions Cornelius Tuwei and Charles Simotwa will be the men to beat in 800m and 1,500m respectively.

Kip Keino Classic javelin champion Alexander Kiprotich hopes to scale to victory once again in men's javelin while Dominic Abunda should easily retain his hammer throw crown.

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