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Tokyo Olympics: Kenyan trio including Hellen Obiri book slot in women’s 5000m final
- A new champion in the women’s 5000m will be crowned in the absence of Vivian Cheruiyot
- Hellen Obiri emerged unscathed in her heat to qualify for the 5000m finals
- She finished her race in second place behind Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay
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Kenyan trio of Hellen Obiri, Lilian Kasait and Agnes Tirop all qualified for the finals of the women’s 5000 metres event at the Tokyo Olympics after flawless showing in the heats.
Obiri was impressive in her heat (2) as she finished in second place, behind Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay.
She put up a good finishing in the final 50 metres to fend of four other athletes who were hot on her heels to finish the race in 14:55.77.
Obiri had ran a conserved race for large parts but impressively managed to keep up the pace with the leading pack.
Ethiopia’s Tsegay snuck into the lead in the final lap but despite a first-place finish, she did not damage Obiri’s qualification to the finals.
In heat one, Tirop and Kasait secured automatic qualification after securing second and fifth placed finishes in heat one.
Obiri’s biggest chance for gold
Having never won gold in the Olympics, this is Obiri’s best chance to go for glory, with Kenyan fans behind her.
In previous interviews, the double world champion and Olympic silver-medallist hinted that she would resort to road races after this edition of the Olympics.
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"It would mean so much to me because this is the only medal that's missing," Obiri said as quoted by ESPN.
"I think this is my last chance. From next year I'll move on to road races and maybe a few 10Ks, but I am going to work so hard to win this one."
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Elsewhere, in the 10000m men's final, Selemon Barega of Ethiopia became the first winner of a gold medal in the track and field events as he triumphed in the 10000m finals on Friday, July 30.
Barega was neck to neck with world-record holder Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda until the final lap where he broke away to finish the race in 27 minutes, 43.22 seconds.
Kenyans Rodgers Kwemoi, Rhonex Kipruto and Weldon Langat finished in 7th, 9th and 20th positions respectively
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