Obiri eyes Continental Cup glory after Asaba success


Hellen Obiri en route to her 5000m African title in Asaba (PHOTO/IAAF/Bob Ramsak)
Hellen Obiri en route to her 5000m African title in Asaba (PHOTO/IAAF/Bob Ramsak)

In Summary

  • World 5000m champion Helen Obiri said she intends to step up her training routine in preparation for the IAAF Continental Cup Ostrava 2018 after striking gold in Asaba
  • The Olympic silver medalist put on a dominant performance at the Delta State City to add the African Athletics Championships title to her bulging cabinet

World 5000m champion Helen Obiri said she intends to step up her training routine in preparation for the IAAF Continental Cup Ostrava 2018 after striking gold in Asaba.

The Olympic silver medalist put on a dominant performance at the Delta State City to add the African Athletics Championships title to her bulging cabinet.

Her winning time of 15:47.18 was ten seconds more than her closest rival, with Ethiopian Senbere Teferi Sora taking silver in 15:56.48. Her compatriot Meskerem Mamo clocked 15:57.38 for bronze.

“It will be a hard race so I plan to prepare more over the next few weeks,” Obiri told IAAF after her victory saw her secure Continental Cup qualification.

Even after a cautiously sluggish pace in the early going, the pack in the women’s 5000m was reduced to six by the race’s midway point, predictably made up of a trio of Ethiopians and a trio of Kenyans, and mostly led by Obiri who exuded a confidence and power the other runners probably wished was infectious.

When she made her break with about three-and-a-half laps to go, it was clear that at least that power wasn’t.

Pounding the track alone through the late afternoon sun, the reigning world champion quickly jumped to a 20-metre lead, extending it steadily as she made her way for home. Indeed, nobody was willing or capable of mounting a challenge.

Ta Lou Extends 2018 Unbeaten Streak

Marie Josée Ta Lou, the world 100m leader at 10.85 and a heavy favourite here, lived up to that role admirably, putting on a brutal display of dominance as she blitzed down a bright blue lane of Stephen Keshi Memorial Stadium’s two-color track, stopping the clock in 11.15 to collect her eighth victory over the distance in as many outings this season.

The only rival this time around was the 2.3 metre-per-second wind she was running against. Even an eagerly awaited head-to-head with Blessing Okagbare didn’t materialise after the Nigerian was a no-show in yesterday’s opening round.

Well back in her wake, Janet Amponsah of Ghana took silver in 11.54, with Joy Udo-Gabriel taking bronze for Nigeria in 11.58.

Another Title For Simbine

Back on the track, Akani Simbine won his second major title of the year, adding African Championships 100m gold to the Commonwealth title he claimed in April. In a much closer contest than the women’s, Simbine’s victory wasn’t clear until the final 15 metres as he held off surges by Arthur Gue Cissé of Ivory Coast and teammate Simon Magakwe, clocking 10.25.

“To me it’s like mission accomplished,” Simbine said. “I started the year wanting to win the African title and the Commonwealth title.” His victory earned him an option to win a third at next month’s Continental Cup.

Cissé clocked 10.33 for second and Magakwe 10.35 for third edging Ben Youssef Meite of Ivory Coast by .01 to secure a 1-3 finish for South Africa.

But South Africa did manage gold and silver in the discus, with Victor Hogan taking the victory with a 60.06m effort. Werner Visser was second with a 58.22m best.

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