Hellen Obiri Powers To History In Brutal Women Senior 10Km Battle

Mar 30 - by Mutwiri Mutuota for SportPesa News

Kenyans becomes the first woman ever to hold senior indoors, outdoors and cross country titles in Aarhus, Denmark

Hellen Obiri celebrates winning the women 10km senior race at Aarhus 2019 IAAF World Cross on Saturday, March 30, 2019. PHOTO/IAAF

  • The Olympic silver medallist and world 5000m champion completed the savage course to move to the rank of one of the greats in 36:14, two seconds ahead of her biggest rival and Ethiopian national cross winner, Dera Dida. Getsenet Gidey, the two-time World Cross under 20 champion crowned her step up to the seniors by coming home in 36:24
  • The Commonwealth Games 5000m champion continued to take it out on the pair of Ethiopians but the refused to bulge as they came to the last lap in a relentless display of running from the leading trio
  • There was to be no repeat of the record-shattering 1-6 finish the Kenyan women achieved at Kampala 2017 but under the circumstances in an event ran on the most difficult course ever, Obiri's masterclass was enough to retain the individual crown for her nation

AARHUS, Denmark- Hellen Obiri became the first female in history to win senior world titles indoors, outdoors and cross country on Saturday when she survived a brutal challenge to complete a wire-to-wire victory in the women 10km showdown at Aarhus 2019 IAAF World Cross on Saturday afternoon.

The Olympic silver medallist and world 5000m champion completed the savage course victorious in 36:14 to rank among the greats, two seconds ahead of her biggest rival and Ethiopian national cross winner, Dera Dida who pushed her all the way to the tape. 

Getsenet Gidey, the two-time World Cross under 20 champion crowned her step up to the seniors by coming home in 36:24 for the Ethiopian 2-3 as they scooped the team title ahead of Kenya.

The demand of the unforgiving course meant the ambitions of 123 starters would be stretched to their limits but Obiri, who took the race by the scruff of the neck from the off, held on to seal her date with golden destiny.

Having ticked off another big medal from her bucket list, Obiri, 29, ruled out returning to defend her crown in two years time.

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"This is enough for me (at the World Cross). I tried to go out in the middle of the race but it was too tough. This was the only gold medal missing from my collection," the elated Obiri said post-race.

“I thought you must look down, as you don't want to look up to see where you are going and at how difficult the hill is. I knew it wasn't going to be a test of speed, as it was a tough hill. It was all about mind games,” she added in her tactics.

The difficult course clearly took its toll and it was down to five at the front 12 minutes in with Chepkoech and Obiri leading Ethiopians Letesenbet Gidey and Dera Dida with Uganda's Chemutai, another two steps behind in a cast that looked set to battle for the medals.

Chepkoech dropped

Soon, the 3000m steeplechase record holder was dropped and it was down to Obiri, Gidey, Dida and Chemutai with Chepkoech drifting well back and barely holding on to fifth as part of the second group.

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Obiri was still running well at the front, but Dida was right on her back, with Gidey and Chemutai still holding on. Chemutai who is just 19 was the next to be cut from the medal equation when she started to drift back. 

Kenya's women 3000m steeplechase world record holder, Beatrice Chepkoech leads teammate Hellen Obiri during the senior women 10km race at the Aarhus 2019 IAAF World Cross. PHOTO/IAAF 


The Commonwealth Games 5000m champion continued to take it out on the pair of Ethiopians but the refused to bulge as they came to the last lap in a relentless display of running from the leading trio.

But the pace slackened opening the door to Chemutai who was leading the chasing pack to close down with the medal-chasers fell to 3:30 per kilometre that was some 30 seconds slower than what these women are capable of.

As they went up the hill for the penultimate time, the favourite was leading, about a step ahead of the shadowing Ethiopian pair but it was clear the Kenyan was tiring.

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It was onto the last lap in the most challenging World Cross ever put together. Dida went shoulder to shoulder with Obiri as the tension rose when they approached the tent at the top of the hill. Gidey, the Kampala 2017 World Under 20 winner was only a stride behind the two.

On paper, Obiri could always rely on the track speed but at the end of the savage course, she needed every reserve of energy she had left as she pursued history as the first woman to hold senior world titles indoors and outdoors on the track as well as cross country.

Water barrier

She applied some pressure as they approached the muddy water barrier and soon after, Gidey was finally beaten leaving the Ethiopian cross champion Dida to chase her Kenyan equivalent in the final stages.

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Obiri then sprinted away from her last challenger as they approached the final hill as she leaned to the hill and when it came to the down slope, it was all over in favour of the Kenyan.

There was to be no repeat of the record-shattering 1-6 finish the Kenyan women achieved at Kampala 2017 but under the circumstances in an event ran on the most difficult course ever, Obiri's masterclass was enough to retain the individual crown for her nation.

Leading results

1 Hellen OBIRI KEN 36:14

2 Dera DIDA ETH 36:16

3 Letesenbet GIDEY ETH 36:24

4 Rachael Zena CHEBET UGA 6:47

5 Peruth CHEMUTAI UGA 36:49

6 Tsehay GEMECHU ETH 36:56

7 Beatrice CHEPKOECH KEN 37:12

8 Eva CHERONO KEN 37:13

9 Deborah SAMUM KEN 37:18

10 Zenebu FIKADU ETH 37:24