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Kenya’s Obiri spoiling for fight against
Ethiopian Dibaba at Africa Championship   

By John Kwoba NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- World 5,000m champion Hellen Obiri of Kenya says there will be no love lost when she faces Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba at the Africa Championships, which starts in Asaba, Nigeria from Aug 1-5.

Obiri has lost twice to the Ethiopian this season, at the Diamond League and the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham, England. Now the Kenyan is plotting a revenge assault against the Ethiopian.

“We will have some good competition in Nigeria. I was not in my best form when I ran in Birmingham and I have since recovered and showed what I can do. Now the quest for World Cup ticket will inspire me to win my first Africa Championship medal,” said Obiri on Saturday in Nairobi.

Obiri will have to team up with Lillian Kasait and Loise Chemning in the 5,000m contest while in the 1,500m race, Kenya will look out for former World Junior champion Winny Chebet, Mary Kuria and Judith Kiyeng.

Ethiopia has named a strong 64-member team for the African Championships led by world record-holder and double world indoor champion Genzebe Dibaba who will compete in both the 5,000m and 1,500m races.

The team also includes reigning world indoor 1500m champion Samuel Tefera, former world U20 5,000m champion Selemon Barega, recently crowned world U20 800m champion Diribe Welteji and former world 5,000m silver medalist Senbere Teferi.

Kenya and Ethiopia have sparred for medals in the middle and long distance and Nigeria will be offering yet another opportunity for the two great athletic nations to contest.

However, their dominance has been raffled with athletes from Uganda, Eritrea and Morocco stealing the show when least expected.

Meanwhile, after missing out the World U20 championships in Tampere due to lack of funds, Botswana will field a weakened team to the African championships.

The Botswana team will not have 2018 Commonwealth 400m champions Isaac Makwala and Amantle Montsho, as well as another 400m specialist Karabo Sibanda, who are all injured.

This will have an impact on the result of the individual 400m as well as on the 4x400m relay in Asaba.

The team is still in position to collect possibly three individual medals through Nijel Amos in the 800m and Baboloki Thebe and Christine Botlogetswe in the 400m.

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