Chelimo eager to take over from Obiri as track queen
World 5,000m silver medallist Margaret Chelimo (top, centre) is hopeful the absence of double world champion Hellen Obiri might be the much-needed opportunity for her to dominate the 12-lap race.
With Obiri stating her intention to transition to road races after much success on track during which she has clinched two Olympic silver medals to add to her two world titles (won in London (2017) and Doha (2019)), Chelimo feels she could capitalise on that.
“Everybody knows dominating such a race is not as easy as one might think. You still need to work hard because there are other athletes who are just as good whereas other young ones are coming up,” Chelimo said.
Three years ago, Chelimo timed a personal best of 14:27.29 in Doha to finish second behind Obiri (14:26.72) with German Konstanz Klosterhalfen (14:28.43) in third place.
She is targeting a better performance at this year’s World Championship in Oregon, United States, where she hopes to go one better than her silver from Qatar.
“The main mission is to clinch my place in the team to represent the country at the World Championships. The cross country season is ending to pave way for the track and field competitions. For me, once I make it to Oregon, the target will be to do better than Doha,” said Chelimo who won the women’s 5,000m race at the 2021 Kip Keino Classic last September.
Last week, Chelimo settled second in 34:01.0 behind winner Joyce Chepkemoi during the Athletics Kenya National Cross Country Championships in the 10km race at Lobo Village, Eldoret.
“There are definitely many races this season so proper planning and management will be crucial in this quest, I just want to play my part well,” said Chelimo.