NAIROBI, Kenya – World women 5000m titleholder Hellen Onsando Obiri will lead the seven-strong Kenyan team to the 2018 IAAF World Indoor Championships in Birmingham that runs from March 1 to 4.
The team will leave the country on Tuesday next week (Feb. 27) for the biannual closed circuit global competition with Obiri seeking her second indoor title after winning gold over 3000m at the 2012 edition in Istanbul, Turkey.
The Kenyan 2017 Sportswoman of the Year returned to Poland two years later to defend her title but left with the silver medal at the Sopot 2014 edition after running 8:57.72 to finish behind Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba.
She skipped the last edition in Portland, United States but went on to win the Olympics 5000m silver medal behind countrywoman Vivian Cheruiyot at the Rio 2016 Games in Brazil.
Bouyed by that performance, Obiri had a 2017 season to remember, storming to her first senior outdoor title at the London 2017 IAAF World Championships in athletics, stopping the timer at 14:34.86 to stun Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana who was seeking a distance double having won the 10000m crown earlier.
She will also run for her country at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia having been named in the 60-strong squad for the Club Games following the conclusion of the Trials in Nairobi.
Olympics and Worlds women 3000m steeplechase fourth finisher, Beatrice Chepkoech, who has been in sensational form in the IAAF Winter Indoor Series was also included in the team announced by Athletics Kenya.
Chepkoech was the toast of the Kenyan charge at the Dusseldorf IAAF Indoor Tour PSD Bank Meeting on earlier in the month when she blasted to a 4:04.21 national record in the women 1500m where the 26-year-old took down the meeting event set by Maryam Yusuf Jamal 12 years ago.
Olympic women 800m bronze winner, Margaret Nyairera is also in the squad having won the third medal at the previous edition in Portland, United States where she clocked 2:00.44 to round off the podium in the final won by fellow East African- Burundian Francine Niyonsaba.
Nyairera also made the Gold Coast squad over the weekend.
Bethwell Birgen, who is yet to medal for the country, will make his fourth successive appearance at the World Indoors after Istanbul 2012, Sopot 2012 and Portland 2016 editions in Turkey, Poland and United States in his hunt for a first podium finish.
Having stepped the distance from 1500m, Birgen recently finished second to Ethiopian world outdoor champion, Yomif Kejelcha in the men 3000m at the Dusseldorf meeting, clocking 7:40.90 as he shaped up for the Birmingham showpiece.
Kenya won two medals in Portland with Augustine Kiprono Choge who took the bronze in the men 3000m the only other podium performance besides Nyairera.
KENYA TEAM FOR 2018 WORLD INDOORS
- Bethwel Kiprotich Birgen
- Davis Kiplagat
- Vincent Kibet
- Emmanuel Kipkurui Korir
- Hellen Onsando Obiri
- Beatrice Chepkoech
- Margaret Nyairera
- Daniel Kimutai Pyaban
- William Tanui
- Josephine Teeka Seneiya