Obiri, Birgen win world indoor race in Birmingham

By David Karanja/Agencies

Olympic 5000m silver medalist Hellen Obiri and Bethwell Birgen bagged the women’s 3000 meters and men’s 1500 meters IAAF Indoor Tour crowns as the series came to a close at the Birmingham Indoor meeting in England.

Obiri fought off her closest challenger Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands to win the women’s 3000 meters race in 8 minutes 29.41 seconds.

World Indoor 1500m champion Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands finished second in 8 minutes 30.76 seconds while Ethiopia’s Dawit Seyaum settled for third position in 8 minutes 37.65 seconds.

While Obiri needed only to finish in the top five in  the 3000m race, Birgen who was tied on 20 points with Silas Kiplagat needed to finish above his compatriot and was handed a huge boost when the latter failed to enter  for the race.

Birgen finished third 3 minutes 37.32 seconds behind Ben Blankenship of the United States, Australia’s Ryan Gregsson who finished

Elsewhere, Mo Farah took victory in the 5,000m at the Birmingham Grand Prix to win the final indoor race of his career.

The 33-year-old, who will retire from the track this year, set a European record of 13 minutes 9.16 seconds.

Laura Muir won the 1,000m in a British record of 2:31:93, taking over a second off Dame Kelly Holmes’ 2004 mark.

Jamaica’s 100m and 200m Olympic gold medallist Elaine Thompson stormed to victory in the women’s 60m in 6.98 seconds, the eighth-fastest time ever.

Four-time Olympic champion Farah plans to focus on road racing after the World Championships in London in August.

“I had amazing support from the crowd today and I can’t quite believe it’s my last indoor race,” said Farah.

“I’ve had a great career indoors and particularly on this track.

“I knew I needed to do some work after Edinburgh, I had to leave my family but hard work pays off.”

Farah had finished seventh last month at the Great Edinburgh Cross Country.