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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Kenyans Helen Obiri and Bedan Karoki
will skip World Cross Country events

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Olympic 5000m silver medalist Helen Obiri of Kenya said she will focus on the indoor circuit and skip the IAAF World Cross Country Championships.

Obiri, who was the world number one in 5000m in 2017, said she wants to improve her endurance in road races and then returns to the track to prepare for the Diamond League circuit, which she has won twice in a row.

"Winning the Diamond League in 5000m for the second year in a row was one of my highlights of 2018.

"I want to do more and see that I retain the title at the World Championships at Doha in October," she said on Sunday in Nairobi.

On the New Year’s Eve, Obiri was second in her debut in the road race in Madrid. Obiri clocked 29:58 to finish second in the San Silvestre 2018 in Madrid.

Only two women have ever run faster for 10k on the road.

Last year she also won the 3,000m title at the IAAF Continental Cup representing African team.

"It was a good moment for me.

"I am proud to represent Africa at the IAAF Continental Cup.

"2019 is a new season and I want to be at my best form ahead of the World Championships," she added.

Another top Kenyan athlete who will also skip the World Cross Country Championships is former silver medalist Bedan Karoki, who is keen to extend his reign in the marathon.

Karoki, who was previously based in Japan, has returned home and pitched his camp in Ngong area on the outskirts of Nairobi for training.

He has won two 10km road races and will be up against an elite team at the Houston marathon in the United States on Jan. 20.

"I am done with cross country," said Kakoki.

"I have a race in Houston on Jan. 20 and then I will focus on building my endurance ahead of the Tokyo Marathon on Mar. 3.

"I have no idea if the selectors will offer me a chance at the World Championships, though I can’t rule out running the track again," said Karoki.
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EARLIER REPORT:

Kenyan Fancy Chemutai returns from injury, targeting Houston Half Marathon title

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) Half Marathon champion Fancy Chemutai has recovered from the ankle injury she sustained last year, and will be up challenging for honors at the Houston Half Marathon on Jan. 20.

Chemutai, the second fastest woman in history, leads top fields in Houston as she pushes for another top finish and boosts her chance of making the Kenya team to the World Championships.

Last year, Chemutai, 23, missed the world record held by compatriot Joyciline Jepkosgei when she won in Dubai clocking 64:52.

However, that push had taken a toll on her body as she injured her knee, which has kept her out of competition for almost six months.

"It is a challenge for me in Houston but when I say I am back, it means I have gauged myself.

"I will still fight for the medals.

"I am progressively returning to full fitness."

"I have sat down with my coach and I believe I have a chance to race again," said Chemutai, who currently trains in Iten.

           

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