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Faith Chepng’etich makes comeback with victory

Monday July 1 2019

Faith Chepng’etich trains at Moi University School of Annex grounds in Eldoret town, Uasin Gishu County on June 25, 2019. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA |

Faith Chepng’etich trains at Moi University School of Annex grounds in Eldoret town, Uasin Gishu County on June 25, 2019. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

AYUMBA AYODI
By AYUMBA AYODI
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World 1,500m champion Faith Chepng’etich romped back from maternity leave to win the women’s 1,500m, while 3,000m steeplechase world record holder Beatrice Chepkoech set yet another meet record as Prefontaine Classic, US went down on Sunday.

The night also belonged to World and Commonwealth 1,500m silver medallist Timothy Cheruiyot, who made it on time after some visa hitch to retain his Bowerman Mile race

Chepng’etich, who is also the Olympic 1,500m cruised to victory in season’s best 3 minutes and 59.04, beating Great Britain’s Laura Muir to second in 3:59.47. Home athlete Shelby Houlihan settled third in 3:59.64.

Even as Chepng’etich keeps her option open, she said her return to track at the Prefontaine is part of her preparations ahead of the World Championships planned from September 28 to October 6 in the Qatari capital.

Chepngétich, the 2014 Commonwealth 1,500m champion, makes a comeback after one year and nine months maternity break.

The 25-year-old, had competed last in the Diamond League on September 1, 2017 in Brussels, where she won in 3: 57.04 to claim the Series and cap a great season that saw her won the World title in London.

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“It feels great to be back and this victory is quite inspiring. I am not at my best form and there is still a long way to go,” said Chepngétich.

"My main target is to try and retain my title in Doha and on to next year, the Tokyo Olympic season.”

Chepkoech, who has simply been in a class of her won this season, lead virtually from the gun-to-the tape, winning in 8:55.58 to crush he previous meet record of 8:58.78 set by compatriot Celliphine Chespol in 2017.

Chepkoech had on May 18 in Shanghai set a meet record and world lead of 9:04.53 but was beaten to second place by compatriot Norah Jeruto, who set a new world lead and meet record of 9:03.71 in Oslo on June 13.

Chepkoech, who came in second in 9:04.30 in Oslo would strike on Sunday to stretch her Series lead, beating 2017 World champion Emma Coburn of US in season’s best 9:04.90 as 2015 World champion Hyvin Kiyeng also returned season’s best 9:05.81 for third.

Chepkoech's time is the fifth fastest in history. The 27-year-old now owns three of the five fastest times ever run over the distance including the world record of 8:44.32 set July 20 in Monaco, last year.

Jeruto this time around settled sixth in 9:10.61 with Chespol pacing up for eighth in 9:10.61.

Then Cheruiyot would close the night with arguably an easy victory and world lead of 3:50.49 beating the Diamond League and meet record holder Ayanleh Souleiman of Djibouti, who came in second in 3:51.22 as Norwegian Filip Ingebrigtsen clocked 3:51.28 for third.

It was Cheriuyot’s second win of the season after Stockholm as World and Commonwealth 1,500m champion Elijah Manangoi sunk to 12th in 3:57.48.

Kenyan men and women lost in the Two Mile and 3,00m races respectively.

Davis Kiplagat was the best placed Kenyan in the Two Mile race where he finished fifth in personal best 8:16.02 as World Cross Country champion Joshua Cheptegei for Uganda called the shots in personal best and world lead time of 8:07.54.

World 5,000m silver medallist Paul Chelimo of USA came in second in 8:07.59 with Ethiopian youngster Selemon Barega timing 8:08.69 for third.

Dutch Sifan Hassan shattered Kenya’s Hellen Obiri’s Diamond League record with a new time of 8:18.49 when winning women’s 3,000m. Obiri’s record of 8:20.68 had stood for five years.

Konstanze Klosterhalfen from Germany came in a surprise second place in 8:20.07 with Letesenbet Gidey and Genzebe Dibaba from Ethiopia coming next all in personal best 8:20.27 and 8:21.29 respectively.

Obiri and compatriots, Agnes Jebet and Caroline Chepkoech followed in 8:27.26, 8:27.51 and 8:31.45.

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