Global 5,000m champion Hellen Obiri is already looking the future to put the disappointment of narrowly missing out on a medal at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Indoor Championships in Birmingham.
At the same time, Kenya’s red hot IAAF World Indoor Championship medal favourite Emmanual Korir has been agonisingly forced out of the 800m due to problems with his visa.
The American-based athlete was reported to have remained in New York in order to deal with some family problems but when he attempted to fly to England for the Birmingham-based championships, it emerged that the computer system at the British Embassy had failed so they were unable to process the 22-year old’s visa.
Late on Thursday Korir, fastest in the World over the distance this year with an African record 1:44.21, posted on Twitter that he would not be able to make the following morning’s opening round of the event.
His coach Paul Ereng – the 1988 Olympic 800m Champion, who won World gold twice over the distance indoors – confirmed the news, explaining: “It’s a shame but the Embassy could not process his visa.”
Obiri was run out of a podium place over the last two and a half laps of the 3,000m, finishing fourth in a relatively slow race, as multiple World Record holder Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia made it a hat-trick of titles at the distance, having also won in 2014 and 2016, and four successive indoor victories having taken the 1,500m crown in 2012.
That year Obiri won 3,000m gold – her first major success – then finished second in 2014 behind Dibaba, runner-up to compatriot Vivian Cheruiyot over 5,000m in the Rio Olympics, before claiming gold over the longer distance at the World Outdoor Championships in London last August.
The Nairobi-based 26-year-old stayed in the leading three throughout most of the 15-lap race until Dibaba stepped up the pace, running an impressive 2:37 for the last 1,000m and eventually winning in 8 minutes, 45.05 seconds.
Silver medallist Sifan Hassan, from the Netherlands, and home favourite Laura Muir came passed Obiri shortly afterwards with the Kenyan coming home in 8:49.66.
“I’ve trained hard for the race but my body did not respond well which is disappointing,” said Obiri. “The other ladies have run good times this winter and are very strong at the moment.