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Obiri, Simiyu reign as cross country series commences

By , People Daily Digital
Monday, November 30th, 2020 11:00 | 2 mins read
World cross country champion Hellen Obiri.

World cross country champion Hellen Obiri and Daniel Simiyu won their respective races during the opening leg of Athletics Kenya Cross Country Series at the People’s Park in Machakos on Saturday.

 Obiri, who is also the World 5,000m champion, took the lead from world 3,000m steeplechase champion Beatrice Chepkoech after 3km to eventually win the women’s 10km race in a muddy course in 32:29.2.

 Caroline Nyaga from Kenya Police Services came second in 32:46.8 with Kenyan-born Winfred Mutile of Bahrain finishing third at  32:47.5. Chepkoech, the world record holder in steeplechase, pulled out after 6km.

 Obiri, who won silver the 5,000m at the 2016 Rio Summer Games, said she will decide whether to double up in 5,000m and 10,000m during the Tokyo Olympics due July 23 to August 8 next year.

“It feels good to run here during the season opener. I am planning on running a few more races,” Obiri said after the victory.

“It was a challenging course following the heavy rains in the morning. My  focus is getting more races before the Tokyo Olympic Games next year,” added Obiri.

On his part Simiyu, ran a front race before winning in 28:27.7. He beat Isaac Kibet from Mount Elgon, who took second place in 28:54.68 as Elgeyo Marakwet’s Elvis Cheboi finished third in 28:54.9.

 Simiu said the race was tough given that it attracted a huge field and due to the muddy course.

He said his focus is on the World Indoor Tour starting February next year.

 “I have big ambitions for the Olympics next year but before that I have to keep preparing for the indoor  tour,” remarked Simiyu.

The World Indoor Championships were delayed by one year to March 19 to 21 next year in Nanjing, China.

According to the 2020-2021 AK calendar, the federation has cut down the cross country series from five to three to cope with a busy 2021 athletics schedule.

 The next legs will be held in Nandi on December 19 and Nyandarua on January 9.

 Kisii will host the national championships cum trials on February 20, 2021, where a team will be picked for the World Cross Country Championships slated for March in Australia.