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Obiri relishes Ethiopian challenge at London world championships

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- Ever since she broke on the global stage by winning gold medal at the 2012 World Indoor championships, Olympic 5,000m silver medalist Hellen Obiri has always dreamt of conquering the world in an outdoor event, London may just be her call.

However, she has been categorical that winning a medal in London will be her motivation, and no attempt will be made to try to break the world record of 14:11.15 held by Ethiopian great Tirunesh Dibaba.

“It is about winning gold for Kenya. We did it in 2011 in Daegu and now it is my chance to rectify that,” she said.

Obiri’s past two indoor competitions in Istanbul (2012) and Sopot (2014) were relatively unknown and she utilized the surprise card to her advantage.

However, going into the London World Championships, the Kenyan long distance runner will feel exposed as she seeks to improve on the silver she won in Rio to gold.

“I feel am in top form and it can propel me to the winner’s podium. It is me believing in my strides and then later focus on what the opposition has to offer to counter my strides,” said Obiri.

Obiri, who ran a blistering 14:18.37 at the Rome leg of the IAAF Diamond League earlier this month, will be under pressure to take over the baton from diminutive yet productive Vivian Cheruiyot who has transited to marathon.

“There will always be someone to look up to. In sports you always have a mentor and Cheruiyot has done great for Kenya. I envy her. But now I have to chatter my own path to stardom and London is the first call. There will be stiff competition especially from the Ethiopians, but I am not afraid of them,” Obiri said.

Indeed waiting to pounce on Obiri will be Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana, who has recovered from injury, Genzebe Dibaba, Senberi Teferi and horde of upcoming athletes from all over the world. But the 27-year-old Kenya is ready for the battle.

Obiri won silver behind gold medalist Cheruiyot in the Rio Olympics ahead of Ethiopian Ayana, the reigning world champion and 10,000m world record holder who grabbed bronze.

Her only show in the World Championships dates back to 2011 in Daegu, where she finished tenth in the 1,500m race. In Moscow 2013, she improved to claim bronze in the 1,500m race.

In 2015, in Beijing, Ethiopia ruled the roost claiming a clean sweep and Obiri together with Margaret Chelimo will carry Kenya’s hope to amend the rout.



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