Hellen Obiri reveals the advantage she has over her rivals if she makes it to Paris Olympics

Hellen Obiri after winning the 2023 Boston Marathon. Photo: Imago

Hellen Obiri reveals the advantage she has over her rivals if she makes it to Paris Olympics

Joel Omotto 11:00 - 04.04.2024

Reigning Boston and New York Marathon champion Hellen Obiri has described what she feels makes her a favourite to win gold at the Paris Olympics if she makes it into Team Kenya.

Hellen Obiri believes her background in cross-country and wins at Boston and New York Marathons gives her an advantage over her rivals at the Paris 2024 Olympics.

Obiri, who won Boston and New York Marathons last year, is among those angling for a slot in Team Kenya to the Paris Olympics after making it to the provisional squad of 10.

While she is keeping her fingers crossed that she will make the final three, the two-time world 5,000m champion, who also has one world cross country title, is banking on her experience to put her in good stead on the hilly course in Paris which is similar to the one in Boston.

“If you have done so many cross-country and you have done a course like Boston and New York, you have a big advantage because it is championships, no pacemakers, so it’s nobody’s game and I have a big advantage because I know how to do hard courses,” Obiri told CITIUS MAG.

The 2012 World Indoor 3,000m champion was included in the provisional squad alongside defending champion Peres Jepchirchir, former world record holder Brigid Kosgei, Tokyo Marathon champion Rosemary Wanjiru, former world champion marathon Ruth Chepng’etich, former world half marathon record holder Joycilline Jepkosgei, Sheila Chepkirui, Judith Jeptum Korir, Selly Chepyego and Sharon Lokedi.

She, however, knows she has to defend her Boston Marathon title on April 15 to convince the selectors to include her in the final team.

“If I can get that chance to the Olympics, it will be much better for me but I have to run Boston very well to convince Kenya that I am the best because up to now, we do not know who is going to be in the team,” she added.

“They have said they will see how we will do in the marathons before May so everything I am doing, I am under pressure because of the Olympics.”

For Obiri, making it to the Olympics will just be the first step but winning gold is the ultimate goal. The 34-year-old has been to three Olympics, London 2012, Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020, winning silver in 5,000 in Brazil and Japan, and with gold proving elusive, she is determined to deliver it in Paris.

“I have been to three Olympics and in two, I have been second and if I get the opportunity to represent Kenya, it will be a chance to show like I have done it on track now it is time to get that gold as a marathoner,” said Obiri.

“I have been looking for gold for so many years and it will be my biggest opportunity but I will have to train for it.”

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