Hellen Obiri successfully defends her 5000m title at the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 (© Getty Images)
On a night of stupendous competition, the women’s 5000m final held its place as Kenya’s Hellen Obiri retained her title in a championship record of 14:26.72 in a pulverising race that saw eleven of those athletes strung out behind her breaking their personal bests.
The Kenyan was suitably rewarded for a run of utter determination from the moment she took the lead towards the end of the second lap – a lead she never relinquished.
Her team-mate Margaret Kipkemboi came through to overtake Konstanze Klosterhalfen in the home straight for silver clocking a personal best of 14:27.49, with the tall, thin German taking a richly earned bronze in 14:28.43.
Obiri took over from the early leader, Eilish McColgan of Britain, and by the 3000 metres she was leading a group of six who were clearly going to contest the medals.
Strong and intent, Obiri was being tracked by the tall German as Kipkemboi and a third Kenyan, Lilian Rengeruk, followed, and two Ethiopians – Tsehay Gemechu and Fantu Worku –completed the sextet.
At the bell it looked as if Kipkemboi was about to make a move, but before she could, Obiri had made her own, moving into top gear, her arms pumping furiously, her face intent, her mind on gold.
As they rounded into the straight this living definition of determination had created a significant gap, and it was eventually her team-mate who got closest to her.
“We have such great runners in Kenya,” said Obiri, who race to the world cross country title in March. “I worked hard to prove that we can win. It was not easy to run the Championship record without pacemakers! But I felt the energy from the crowd and stayed focused.
“I just told my coach to let me focus on the 5000m and I will do my best.
“It was a long season – the cross-country events, the Diamond Leagues, then the Championships. I think I need to take one month off and then we will see. Maybe I can try the 10,000m for the Olympics.”
Gemechu finished fourth in 14:29.60, Rengeruk fifth in 14:36.05 and Worku sixth in 14:40.47 – all of which were personal bests.
Britain’s Laura Weightman led home the chasing group in a personal best of 14:44.57, ahead of Ethiopia’s Hawi Feysa in 14:44.92.
McColgan was rewarded with a personal best of 14:46.17, one hundredth of a second behind ninth-placed Karissa Schweizer of the United States – who also had a personal best.
Mike Rowbottom for the IAAF