NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
There will be no love lost when world
5,000m champion Helen Obiri of Kenya confronts world 3,000m
steeplechase winner Ruth Jebet of Bahrain in the Cross
Internacional de Italica in Seville, Spain on Jan 21.
Obiri, who is also the Olympic silver medalist in 5,000m and
Jebet head the women’s line-up along with two-time world U20
cross country champion Letesenbet Gidey from Ethiopia, and world
U20 steeplechase record-holder Celliphine Chespol and world
cross country bronze medalist Lillian Kasait, both from Kenya.
Obiri is using the cross country season to shake off the rust
after a long layoff to recover from a successful 2017 season
that saw her win both the IAAF Diamond Trophy and the gold medal
in London worlds.
"I am getting to my prime form slowly.
"The idea is not to compete in cross country for long, but to
run in selected races to boost my endurance and then I will turn
to training for the indoor competition," said Obiri in Nairobi
on Wednesday Nairobi.
The Kenyan is eying the chance to recapture her 3,000m indoor
world title having skipped the last championships in Cardiff in
But to regain her fitness, she must work hard through the
enduring cross country circuit.
Obiri has returned home briefly to contest in the Armed
Forces cross country championship, where she will be
representing her unit on Friday in Nairobi.
"I will then race in two more cross country races before
focusing on my speed in preparedness for the World Indoor
Championships in Birmingham in March," she said.
In Seville, the Kenyan must strive hard to deny Jebet the
bragging rights as well as watch out for the upcoming Kenyans
Chepsol and Kasait who have proved to be no pushovers in their
transition from junior to senior ranks.
"It is always difficult to compete in these international
races because everyone wants to win.
"But it is about your own fitness and not what strength other
have," she said.
Obiri was recently beaten to fourth in Campaccio meeting in
In the men’s race, world 10,000m silver medallist Joshua
Cheptegei is among the top names along with his young Ugandan
teammate Jacob Kiplimo and world cross country bronze medalist
Abadi Hadis from Ethiopia.
World and Olympic 3,000m steeplechase champion Conseslus
Kipruto from Kenya will be also on parade.
Kipruto will be eyeing to gauge his fitness before focusing
on competing at the continental cross country with Africa
staging its event in Chlef City in Algeria in March.
However, Obiri has ruled out competing in the event as she is
focused on reclaiming her 3,000m world indoor title when the
championships are held in Birmingham City in England on March 4.
"I want to reclaim my title.
"I will not overwork myself to compete at Africa Cross and
"Kenya has many athletes and focusing on one event is
important to give it your best shot," she said.