World 3,000m steeplechase champion Kenya’s Hyvin Kiyeng led her compatriots Purity Kirui, Cellphine Chespol and Beatrice Chepkoech in qualifying for the women’s 3,000m steeplechase final at the World Championships on Wednesday.
Kiyeng, Commonwealth Games 3,000m steeplechase champion Kirui, World Junior 3,000m steeplechase winner Chespol and Beatrice Chepkoech qualified for the final due Friday night.
Kiyeng and Kirui led at one time but it is Gesa Felicitas Krause from Germany who won the first semi-final in 9:39.86. Kiyeng, the 2016 Rio Olympic Games silver medallist, came in second in 9:39.89 followed by Kirui, in 9:40.53 to qualify automatically.
However, Chepkoech and Chepsol comfortably won their semi-finals to make it a Kenyan foursome assault in the final.
Chepkoech exchanged leads with Olympic 3,000m steeplechase champion Kenyan-born Ruth Jebet of Bahrain. But it’s the calm Kenyan who led through 1,000m and 2,000m in 3:02.05 and 6:08.60 to win in 9:19.03. Jebet, the World Record holder (8:52.78) came in second in 9:19.52 to qualify.
“I am not losing my focus on what I came to do here as the defending champion,” said Kiyeng, who rued the soaked track. “I couldn’t see well because of the drizzle.”
“Its three years since I won the medal and I feel this is the year,” said Kirui, who went on maternity leave after winning the Commonwealth Games in 2014. “I just wanted to qualify then plan how to finish at the podium n Friday.”
Chespol, who holds the world lead time of 8:58.78, said her glide to the top is unstoppable after she won her semi-final in 9:27.36.
Chespol’s rise speaks for itself, having won the World Youth 2,000m steeplechase title in 2015 followed by the World Junior 3,000m steeplechase title in 2016.
“I know I am facing a tough field but it’s my dream to end up on the podium,” said Chespol, who predicted a Kenyan sweep.