Obiri brezees to 5000m Kenyan record in Rome

By sportsnewsarena correspondent
Jun 09, 2017
  • Hellen Obiri on her way to winning the 5000m at the Diamond league in Rome.(Photo by Shutterspeed)

Hellen Obiri of Kenya lit up the middle distance events at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Rome on Thursday turning in a stunning performances to set world-leading time s at the Golden Gala Pietro Mennea.

Obiri set a Kenyan record of 14:18.37 to come home alone in the 5000m.

The talk beforehand had been all about Genzebe Dibaba’s attempt at her older sister Tirunesh’s world record, and confidence seemed high in the Ethiopian’s camp, with a sub-14-minute pace requested at the technical meeting two days before.

However, it was eventually decided that a 14:10 pace would suffice, and Dibaba duly assumed pole position behind the pacemakers and passed 1000m in 2:51.

However, at 3000m, reached in 8:38, the first cracks were beginning to show for the 1500m world record holder.

Obiri, who had finished second in the Olympic 5000m, soon put Dibaba’s endurance to the test, charging ahead at the front of the race.

It was a surge no one, not even Dibaba, could handle, and the Kenyan reeled off a 65-second lap to bring her clear of her rivals.

From there, she kept pouring coal on the fire, eventually crossing and falling to the track with a world lead and national record in hand. Obiri who also holds the 3000m Kenyan record  improved the 5000m time by almost two minutes.

Agnes Tiprop came through strongly for second in 14:33.09, with young Ethiopian Letesenbet Gidey third in 14:33.32. Dibaba faded to sixth in 14:41.55.

"When I came to this race, I told myself that nobody can beat me," said Obiri. "I thought Genzebe would push it forward but when she did not, I tried to do that myself. From the beginning, I was looking to the front, thinking about a time around 14:18. I even think I can improve it at the next competition."

Sifan Tops 1500m 

Sifan Hassan blasted to victory over 1500m in 3:56.22 and  After a steady opening half of the women’s 1500m – where 800m was reached in a conservative 2:07 – Hassan moved towards the front and when she dropped the hammer on the final lap, her rivals simply had no response.

The Dutch clocked a 60.7-second final lap to come home well clear of Kenyan Winny Chebet (3:59.16) and Konstanze Klosterhalfen (3:59.30), who both set lifetime bests. “I am very surprised, such a fast time!” said Hassan. 

Kipruto all class in steeplechase

Conseslus Kipruto confirmed his superiority over the world of steeplechasing with a classy, almost cocky display to win in 8:04.63. In a race that set out a swift pace – they passed 1000m in 2:37 – Kipruto nestled behind the pacemakers, biding his time.

The pace inevitably slowed in the second kilometre, and when the field hit 2000m in 5:23, Kipruto swept to the front. He pulled with him compatriots Amos Kirui, Jairus Birech, and Moroccan newcomer Soufiane El Bakkali.

Kipruto, just as he did in Rio, then refused to surrender the lead throughout the final lap. Just when it seemed he was coming under threat, as El Bakkali ranged up alongside with 100 metres to run, the Olympic champion shifted gears impressively, cruising clear and crossing the line almost nonchalantly with the night’s first world lead.

El Bakkali took nine seconds off his PB to finish second in 8:05.17, with Birech third in 8:07.84. Two-time Olympic champion Ezekiel Kemboi made a disappointing return, trailing home 17th in 8:33.07.

“I always try to keep the speed for the last two laps and when I have enough power, it pays off,” he said. “I started this season as planned – 8:04 is a good time.”

Bett second in 800m 

In the men’s 800m, Poland’s Adam Kszczot ran a typically coy race to take victory in 1:45.96 ahead of Kipyegon Bett (1:46.00) and Donovan Brazier (1:46.08).

The early pacemaker proved essentially useless to the runners, passing 400m in 49.25, more than a second faster than the requested schedule.

It was so quick that Kinyor tried to snatch the race itself, looking around with 200 metres to run and deciding that his lead was sufficient to carry on.

However, he was struck down with overwhelming fatigue as he turned for home and the first to pass was Kszczot, who powered past to victory ahead of Bett.

“I had to change pace at least three or four times in the race and it cost me a lot,” said Kszczot.

“But I was still able to beat the guys with even better times and that makes me happy.”