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Glorious Hellen: Obiri Scorches Almaz Ayana For Gold Number 4

Kenya's Hellen Onsando Obiri celebrates winning the final of the women's 5000m athletics event at the 2017 IAAF World Championships at the London Stadium in London on August 13, 2017. PHOTO/AFP
Ethiopia's Almaz Ayana (L) and Kenya's Hellen Onsando Obiri compete during the women's 5000m athletics event at the 2017 IAAF World Championships at the London Stadium in London on August 10, 2017. PHOTO/AFP

LONDON, England- Using the same script from the Rio 2016 Olympics, Hellen Obiri scorched mighty Ethiopian Almaz Ayana on Sunday night to land a first ever world outdoor title in the women 5000m in London.

The Kenyan who had won 10 out of 12 races she started this season shadowed Ayana, the 10000m gold medallist here, all the way after the Ethiopian charged to the front with three laps gone before charging away from her after the bell for glory.

Obiri went for it halfway through the back straight and the gifted Almaz had no response and nobody could look happier than the whooping, leaping Kenyan as she crossed the line for gold in 14:34.86, with Almaz taking silver in 14:40.35.

Dutch distance running start Sifan Hassan headed the challengers home for bronze in 14:42.73.

At the London Olympic Stadium, the ghosts of the women 5000m final at the Rio Olympics last summer came back to haunt Almaz who was aiming for the double after another imposing performance in the 10000m.

In Brazil, Vivian Cheruiyot who retired from the track last year, was the Kenyan who denied the 25-lap world record holder the glory as Obiri forced her to accept the third medal when the pair tailed Almaz before speeding past the Ethiopian for the Kenyan 1-2.

When Almaz, who set a world 10000m record in Rio, went for broke on the opening night of London 2017 in the longer distance, no one could match her. Even the great compatriot Tirunesh Dibaba, now turning her sights to the roads, knew better than to try.

Creating space

Ethiopia's Almaz Ayana leads Kenya's Hellen Onsando Obiri during the final of the women's 5000m athletics event at the 2017 IAAF World Championships at the London Stadium in London on August 13, 2017. PHOTO/AFP

Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana leads Kenya’s Hellen Onsando Obiri during the final of the women’s 5000m athletics event at the 2017 IAAF World Championships at the London Stadium in London on August 13, 2017. PHOTO/AFP

With nine of the 12 and half laps to go on Sunday, Almaz was already creating space between herself and the rest of the field but Obiri responded and moved at her shoulder. With eight to go, the two had opened a lead of around 10m.

With six remaining Almaz and Obiri extended their lead to 40m with gold and silver seemingly settled and the question was who would take the first and second medal.

Meanwhile, the battle for the bronze was on behind them with only a couple of seconds separating third to 11th placed runners.

With 800m to go-Obiri was still on the shoulder of Almaz and they ran as if they were a single unit around the final bend for the penultimate bend.

Hassan of the Netherlands led the chase for bronze and at the bell; it was Almaz who went past in the lead through the curve and the back straight before Obiri made her decisive move with 300m to go.

Monumental effort

The 2012 World Indoor 3000m champion then switched on the afterburners and accelerated away from the Ethiopian who had done enough to take the silver as a feeling of de javu came all over her again.

Obiri, who first placed at a Worlds podium at the 2013 edition in Daegu when she won bronze in 5000m, launched a celebratory lap of such delight that the home crowd got sucked in as they applauded her monumental effort.

Fellow Kenyans, Margaret Chelimo (14:48.74) and Shiela Chepkirui who ran a personal best on her senior Worlds debut of 14:54.05 finished fifth and seventh in that order.

The night however, belonged to Obiri who won Kenya’s fourth gold medal at London 2017 delivering yet another huge upset on the last day of what has been a World Championships of shocks.

-Material from IAAF used to compile this report

LEADING WOMEN 5000m FINAL RESULTS

1          4086    Hellen Onsando OBIRI KEN 14:34.86

2          3839    Almaz AYANA ETH 14:40.35 SB

3          4127    Sifan HASSAN NED 14:42.73

4          3849    Senbere TEFERI ETH 14:47.45

5          4080    Margaret Chelimo KIPKEMBOI KEN 14:48.74

6          3900    Laura MUIR GBR 14:52.07

7          4081    Sheila Chepkirui KIPROTICH KEN 14:54.05 PB

8          4130    Susan KRUMINS NED 14:58.33

9          4366    Shannon ROWBURY USA 14:59.92

10        3898    Eilish MCCOLGAN GBR 15:00.43

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