Sunday, August 4, 2013

Chemos confident of breaking steeplechase duck in Moscow

PHOTO | MOHAMMED AMIN Milka Chemos (left) and Lydia Chepkurui lead the pack during the national trials at Nyayo Stadium on July 13.

PHOTO | MOHAMMED AMIN Milka Chemos (left) and Lydia Chepkurui lead the pack during the national trials at Nyayo Stadium on July 13. Both qualified for the IAAF World Athletics Championships.  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By AYUMBA AYODI [email protected]

The level of confidence, hard work and determination in training are a clear manifestation that Milcah Chemos is tired of playing a second fiddle to opponents.

In fact, Chemos’s teammates reckon that the moment has come for Kenya to stop the dominant Russians in the women’s 3,000m steeplechase race at their back yard.

Chemos, Lydia Chepkurui, Gladys Jerotich Kipkemoi and Hyvin Kiyeng Jepkemoi who will be flying Kenya’s flag, said they have been plotting for the downfall of the front-running Russians in Moscow.

Kenya has always settled for bronze since the women’s steeplechase was introduced at the World Championships in 2005. Jeruto Kiptum won bronze at the 2005 edition in Helsinki where Uganda’s Dorcas Inzikuru won, with Russian Yekaterina Volkova settling for silver.

Eunice Jepkorir also won bronze in the 2007 Osaka Worlds where Russia claimed a 1-2 finish through Volkova and Tatyana Petrova. Chemos would then win bronze at the 2009 edition in Berlin and in 2011 in Daegu. 

Chemos (9:08.39) lost to Marta Domínguez (9:07.32) of Spain in Berlin as Russian Yuliya Zarudneva Zaripova (9:08.39) won silver.

Zaripova (9:07.03) was to prevail in Daegu, with Tunisian Habiba Ghribi (9:11.97) going for silver and Chemos (9:17.16) bronze.

Women’s steeplechase made its Olympic debut in Beijing in 2008 where, after bronze in Osaka Worlds, Jepkorir claimed silver as victory went to Russian Gulnara Samitova-Galkina. Volkova took bronze.

Chemos, 27, just missed the medal bracket, finishing fourth as Zaripova followed her success in Daegu with victory at the 2012 London Olympics. Once again, Ghribi was relegated to silver with Ethiopian Sofia Assefa claiming bronze.

“For sure I need to up my game and go a step further after winning bronze medals in Berlin and Daegu. Playing a second fiddle really bothers me,” said Chemos, who won the 2012 Diamond League Series, breaking the African and Kenyan record in 9:07.14, the fourth all-time best.

“I have known Zaripova since 2009 and she also knows me well. The Russians are front-runners but we are also going to employ different tactics this time around,” said Chemos, who holds the second fastest time this year of 9:14.17 from her victory in Monaco on July 19. “But first things first. My joy will be to have all the four of us in the final. That is what we shall focus on.”

Chepkurui, 28, who boasts a world-leading and personal best time of 9:13.75 from her win in Doha on May 10, is keen to take her current form to Moscow while the 2004 World junior champion, Gladys Jerotich Kipkemoi is dreaming of a clean sweep.

“I really want to forget about the World lead and focus on how we shall devour the Russians at their won tuff. That will be my joy,” said Chepkurui.

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