Kenya's Obiri eyes to retain World title and Diamond trophy to cap 'best season'

Source: Xinhua| 2019-08-13 22:26:46|Editor: Xiaoxia
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NAIROBI, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) -- Commonwealth Games and world 5,000m champion Hellen Obiri is hoping to end her season on a high after sealing the World Cross Country title in March.

The Olympic silver medalist said on Tuesday in Nairobi that she will only focus on the lucrative Diamond League and World Championships, giving the African Games a miss.

"At the moment, I have to race sparingly and will not be part of the African Games. The focus is on the Diamond League, in which I want to retain my title for the third year in a row. It is an energy-draining competition and most of my rivals have little regard to the fact that I am the world champion. After the Diamond League, it will be the World Championships," said Obiri on Tuesday in Nairobi.

The 29-year-old has reiterated her quest to go for double gold in Doha during the World Championships, saying she is keen to run in both the 10,000m and 5,000m.

"It is down to the management and the timing of the races. I qualify in both and if they allow me, I will double up," she said.

In March, she won the only gold medal missing from her collection at the World Cross Country championships in Aarhus, Denmark.

She later won at the Great Manchester Run in May. However, her cruise was halted when she endured a hard fall at the Stockholm Diamond League meet.

Obiri has since struggled to shake off the bruises and knocks and finished only sixth in the shorter 3,000m race at the Prefontaine Classic in California, where she clocked 8:27.26. She rebounded in London to win the traditional 5,000m race, clocking a season's best time of 14:20.36.

However, despite her improvement, Obiri still feels she is only 90 percent fit.

"It is hard to maintain it at 100 per cent. There are injuries and hormonal imbalances in the body. But my management is working hard to see that I peak prior to the World Championships," she added.

To equal the record set by Tirunesh Dibaba (Beijing 2015) and Vivian Cheruiyot (Daegu 2011) and win double gold, Obiri said she will not engage in mind games, but work on improving her own strength and run her own race.

"When I am racing I forget about everything. You understand there is so much attention on you. But for a moment you throw that aside and focus on winning. People will talk about you if you win. Expectations are high and nobody knows the challenges you go through to perform at the top. You do not want to disappoint," she said.

Kenya will select its 10,000m race team on August 22 and wait until September 13 to pick the rest of the team for the World Championships, which are held in Doha, Qatar from September 28 to October 6.