Tag Archives: 2017 World championships

Tokyo Olympics preview: 3000m steeplechase

Women’s 3000m steeplechase

The standout steeplechaser over the past few years hasn’t quite been so dominant in 2021, throwing this event wide open going into Tokyo.

Beatrice Chepkoech broke the world record in 2018, clocking 8:44.32, and then went on to win the world title in 2019 with a championship record of 8:57.84, finishing almost five seconds ahead of the rest of the field.

She finished fourth at the 2016 Olympics and at the 2017 World Championships, despite losing precious time when missing one of the barriers. She rebounded well, and throughout 2018 and 2019 she won 17 of her 19 races. She now also owns half of history’s 14 sub-nine-minute performances in the steeplechase.

But despite a promising start to her year, which included a world record of 14:43 over 5km and an indoor 3000m PB of 8:31.72 just three days later, the Kenyan hasn’t won any of her steeplechase races in 2021. Her season’s best of 9:04.94 was set when finishing a distant second at the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Monaco.

Her compatriot Hyvin Kiyeng was the winner on that occasion in what turned out to be an eventful race. Kiyeng misjudged her remaining laps due to a human error with the lap counter, so she started her final kick one lap early. Upon realising her mistake after hearing the bell for the actual final lap, she somehow managed to muster enough energy to hold on to her lead, winning in a season’s best of 9:03.82.

Kiyeng won the world title in 2015 and went on to take Olympic silver in 2016 and world bronze in 2017. She finished fourth on her season debut in Doha earlier this year but has gone on to win the rest of her races, beating Chepkoech on all three occasions.

And if she can beat a world record-holder and world champion after having messed up her finishing kick, as she did in Monaco, Kiyeng will be a big threat in Tokyo. She could even finally improve on the PB of 9:00.01 she set back in 2016.

The fastest of the entrants, somewhat surprisingly, is African Games champion Mekides Abebe, who set an Ethiopian record of 9:02.52 at the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Doha. Her only other races this year have been against domestic opposition, but she won both the Ethiopian Championships in Addis Ababa and the Ethiopian Olympic Trials in Hengelo.

Despite being just 19 years of age, Abebe is actually the oldest of Ethiopia’s steeplechase representatives. She’ll be joined in Tokyo by Lomi Muleta, who set a PB of 9:14.03 this year, and Zerfe Wondemagegn, who set a national U20 record of 9:16.95 in Hengelo. All three women represented Ethiopia at the 2019 World Championships, so, despite their young age, they will have already gained some valuable experience ahead of making their Olympic debut.

US champion Emma Coburn will once again be a medal contender. Olympic bronze medallist in 2016, world champion in 2017 and world silver medallist in 2019, Coburn is always in the mix at major events.

She fell at the last water jump in her final pre-Olympic race at the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Monaco, eventually finishing fourth in 9:09.02. She had watched Kiyeng’s blunder from afar and had started to reel in the Kenyan, though there’s also no guarantee Coburn would have won on that occasion had she stayed on her feet. Regardless, assuming she makes no such mistake in Tokyo, Coburn will be in the medal hunt.

Gesa-Felicitas Krause is another strong championship performer. The German won European golds in 2016 and 2018, sandwiched between world bronze medals in 2015 and 2019. She heads to Tokyo with a season’s best of 9:09.13, though it’s highly likely she’ll improve on that; in all but one of her 10 seasons between 2010 and 2019, Krause’s fastest times of each year were set in championship finals.

Bahrain’s Winfred Yavi just missed out on the medals at the World Championships in Doha, but gained some form of redemption when she returned to the Qatari capital for the Wanda Diamond League meeting earlier this year as she came away with a PB of 9:02.64, beating Kiyeng, Coburn and Krause.

Others who could feature in the final include North American record-holder and 2017 world silver medallist Courtney Frerichs, Slovenian record-holder Marusa Mismas-Zrimsek, 2014 Commonwealth champion Purity Kirui, Oceanian record-holder Genevieve Gregson of Australia, Chinese record-holder Zhang Xinyan and Ugandan record-holder Peruth Chemutai.

Mweresa Expelled for Doping

African Games 400m silver medallist Boniface Mweresa has been expelled from Team Kenya camp from the Africa Senior Athletics Championships in Nigeria for testing positive of banned substances.

Mweresa, was given marching orders by Athletics Kenya (AK) to leave the training camp on Thursday testing positive to doping tests carried out by Anti-Doping Agency (ADAK).

The fate of the disgraced sprinter is now in the hands of Athletics Kenya (AK) expected to handle Mweresa’s case in accordance with the anti-doping law.

Mweresa who managed to reach the semifinals at the 2017 World Championships held in London, the UK in 45:93 seconds was a member of Team Kenya for the Africa Senior Athletics Championships scheduled for August 1st-8th in Asaba, Delta State in Nigeria.

Mweresa is best remembered for anchoring Kenya to clinch the 2015 All Africa Games 4 X 400m relay by staving off rivalry from three times and Commonwealth Games 400m champion Botswana’s anchor Isaac Makwala.

The Kenya 4 X 400m team brought down the curtain on the athletic program at the 2015 All African games in dramatic fashion, holding off a strong Botswana team. In the process they set a new games record of 3:00.34 courtesy of Mweresa’s anchor leg.

Mweresa’s personal bests in the event (400m) are 45.01 seconds outdoors (Brazzaville 2015) and 46.33 seconds indoors (Portland, USA 2016).

The 24 year old, sprinter was busted a few days after Kenyan elite athletes including three times World metric mile champion Asbel Kiprop and Bahrain’s Kenyan born Olympic champion Ruth Chebet are facing disciplinary proceedings for doping.


Israel’s Lonah Chemtai to chase European 10,000m Cup title in London

Israel might not have a particularly rich tradition in long distance running but there could be something to celebrate at the European 10,000m Cup at the Parliament Hill Athletics Track in London on 19 May when Lonah Chemtai takes to the start-line in the women’s race.

Chemtai, 29, represented Israel in the marathon at the 2016 Olympics and 2017 World Championships without much success but it is over the shorter distances where the Kenyan-born runner is starting to make an impact at continental level – and where her aspirations lie ahead of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Chemtai has already set national records at all distances from 3000m up to the half marathon in 2018. She was the first European finisher at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Valencia when she finished 12th in a European-leading time and national record of 68:58 and she is now transferring this newfound form onto the track.

At last month’s Israeli 10,000m Championships in Tel Aviv, Chemtai produced a gun-to-tape clocking of 31:39.63 to move to second on the 2018 world lists. She started aggressively and was on sub-31 minute pace through the 5000m checkpoint in 15:26.8 – also a national record – and with assistance from the pacemakers, an assault on the sub-31 minute barrier is not out of the question.

The fastest women in the line-up based on lifetime bests is Germany’s Sabrina Mockenhaupt. Now 37, Mockenhaupt might not be in the sort of form which saw her run 31:14.21 at the 2008 Olympics but her motivation will be to run 32:55 or faster. This would put her in contention for a place on her fifth European Championships team in Berlin later this summer.

Mockenhaupt is one of the stalwarts of the European 10,000m Cup, having won the individual title in both 2005 and 2013. She spearheads a strong German team which also includes European U20 5000m champion Miriam Dattke and Natalie Tanner, who has already clocked 32:36.15 for the distance in 2018.

The Spaniards, who have won three team titles since the event was inaugurated in 1997, have named a full-size team of six including Ana Lozano who will make her debut at the distance.

Lozano has competed sparingly this season but she raced very well over the shorter distances last year, finishing sixth over 3000m at the European Indoor Championships in Belgrade before winning the 5000m at the European Team Championships Super League in Lille.

Great Britain have also won the team title three times and they will be looking to perform well as a collective on home soil. The fastest on paper in Charlotte Arter with a 32:37.52 PB although the most credentialed athlete on the team is former European U20 3000m and cross country champion Emelia Gorecka who will make her 10,000m debut.

Other contenders for the individual title include former European U23 champion Jip Vastenburg from the Netherlands (31:35.48 PB), Ancuta Bobocel from Romania (32:18.93 PB) and former European cross country champion Sophie Duarte from France (32:36.32 PB).

Portugal’s Sara Moreira, who won her third individual title in Minsk twelve months ago, will not be defending her title while Belarus, who collected the team prize, are not sending a team to this year’s event.

5 Russian walkers suspended over coach

The governing body of world athletics has suspended five Russian race walkers from competition pending further investigation of their participation in a training camp with a banned coach.

The decision to revoke the neutral status of Klavdiya Afanasyeva, Olga Eliseeva, Yuliya Lipanova, Sergey Sharypov and Sergey Shirobokov, a silver medallist from the 2017 world championships, means they will not be eligible to compete at the race walking team championships in China later this week.

Athletics’ governing body the IAAF said the decision had been made pending a probe into “a number of serious issues” related to their participation in a training camp in Kyrgyzstan last month with coach Viktor Chegin, who was banned for life from athletics over the Russian doping scandal.

Russia’s athletics federation was suspended by the IAAF in 2015 following a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report containing allegations of state-supported doping, which Moscow has denied.

The IAAF has cleared some Russians to compete internationally as neutral athletes if they demonstrate that their training environment meets the required anti-doping standards.

The IAAF said it would review the race walkers’ status for further competitions this year once it had received more information from Russia’s anti-doping agency RUSADA and knew the outcome of further investigations.

Chegin had coached prominent race walkers including Olga Kaniskina, Sergei Kirdyapkin and Elena Lashmanova. These athletes all won Olympic gold medals but later served doping bans.


Obiri relishes new challenge ahead of Doha Diamond League meeting

Kenya’s Hellen Obiri says her win at the Commonwealth Games in the 5,000m has finally given her relief and a great start in outdoor competition after a poor showing at the World Indoor Championships.

Obiri, 27, started off the season on a sour note in Birmingham, England with a fourth place finish in the 3,000m indoor race.

However, she found her strength and challenged for medals at the Commonwealth Games and finally won over the 5,000m distance. “It has been a blessing in Australia and I’m happy to be the new Commonwealth Games champion over 5,000m. It is a nice way to start my outdoor season,” she said.

The World 5,000m champion, who had to shed 25 kilograms after the delivery of her child to return to competition, says the poor start to 2018 was a wake-up call for her over the potential challenge she faces in her quest to dominate the long distance races.

“In Birmingham, it was not quite the World Indoor Championships I wanted but I kept working hard to make myself the best I can be,” she added.

Obiri, who returns home together with the rest of the Kenyan contingent from the Commonwealth Games says there will be no room for rest as she quickly wants to get into better form ahead of her outdoor season in the lucrative Diamond League circuit, which has 14 stops spread across Asia, Africa, Europe and USA.

“I can confirm that I will be running in Doha. It gives me great joy to return to the Qatari capital to compete in the 3,000m event at the Doha Diamond League” she said. Obiri will be aiming to improve on her previous performance.

Obiri leads a strong field of Kenyans, which includes 2013 World Youth Champion and 2014 World Junior silver medalist in the 3,000m, Lilian Kasait Rengeruk and fifth-place finisher at the 2017 World championships, Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi.

Reigning 1500m world silver medalist and Olympic bronze medalist, Jenny Simpson of the USA, will move up to the longer distance in Doha and will provide a strong challenge for the Kenyans.

Obiri enjoyed an outstanding 2017 season, claiming the overall 5,000m Diamond League trophy following victories in Shanghai and Rome, as well as winning the 3,000m in Monaco and taking a new meeting record over one mile at the Muller Anniversary Games in London.

However, 20-year-old teammate Rengeruk has shown strong form already this season, winning team gold at the 2018 World Cross Country Championships in Uganda and taking individual bronze, proving the youngster is one-to-watch and setting up an exciting head-to-head in May.

source: xinhuanet.com

Obiri highlights the Kenyan onslaught at Doha Diamond League season opener

Women’s 3,000m race in the season-opening Doha Diamond League will see reigning world champion and Olympic silver medalist Hellen Obiri lead a strong Kenyan fields that includes 2013 World Youth Champion and 2014 World Junior 3000m silver medalist Lilian Kasait and fifth-place finisher at the 2017 World championships, Margaret Chelimo.

Reigning 1,500m world silver medalist and Olympic bronze medalist, Jenny Simpson of the USA, will move up to the longer distance in Doha and will provide a strong challenge for the Kenyans.

Obiri enjoyed an outstanding 2017 season, claiming the overall 5,000m Diamond League title in Brussels following victories in Shanghai and Rome, as well as winning the 3,000m race in Monaco. She also set a new meeting record over one mile at the Muller Anniversary Games in London.

However, 20-year-old team-mate, Rengeruk, has shown strong form already this season, winning team gold at the 2017 World Cross Country Championships in Uganda and taking individual bronze, proving the youngster is one-to-watch and setting up an exciting head-to-head in May. The race promises to be a real treat for Qatar’s large Kenyan community, who always come out in force to support their athletes.

Doha first staged a major athletics event in 1997 with the Doha Grand Prix, which was elevated to the Super Grand Prix in 2005. In 2010, Doha hosted the first-ever IAAF Diamond League fixture which has continued to grow in strength every year and provides an ideal opening to the outdoor season. The 2018 meeting will be the ninth consecutive edition.

The women’s 100m promises to be one of the highlights of the evening as reigning 100m Olympic champion Elaine Thompson of Jamaica will go head to head with reigning 200m World champion and Olympic silver medallist Dafne Schippers of The Netherlands, 2017 world silver medallist in the 100m and 200m, Marie-Josée Tao Lou of the Ivory Coast and fellow country-woman, 2018 World Indoor champion over 60m, Murielle Ahouré.

Elaine Thompson proved unbeatable in last year’s Diamond League series as she won every single race to be crowned 2017 Diamond League Champion.

She also became the first woman since Florence Griffith-Joyner at Seoul 1988 to do the sprint double at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

However, Thompson finished in a surprise fifth place at the London 2017 IAAF World Championships with Ta Lou, Schippers and Ahouré finishing ahead of her in silver, bronze and fourth positions respectively, ensuring a fascinating showdown at this year’s Doha Diamond League.

The Doha event will be followed by the Shangai round where World record-holder David Rudisha will hope to make it third time lucky in the men’s 800m after finishing fifth on his Shanghai debut in 2016 and third last year, while fellow Kenyan Timothy Cheruiyot begins the defence of his Diamond League trophy in the 1500m.

Other reigning IAAF Diamond League champions who will be looking for early points include Dalilah Muhammad in the women’s 400m hurdles and Maria Lasitskene, the world indoor and outdoor high jump champion.

Colombia’s Olympic champion Caterine Ibarguen is targeting a winning return to Shanghai after she won the women’s triple jump here in 2013 and 2015, as will Luvo Manyonga, the South African who leapt to an IAAF Diamond League and African record of 8.61m to take maximum points in the long jump last May before going to win the world title and Diamond trophy in August.

Manyonga will face China’s newly minted Asian indoor champion, Shi Yuhao.

Sam Kendricks, another of last year’s world and IAAF Diamond League champions, takes on the host nation’s World Championships fourth-place finisher, Xue Changrui, in the men’s pole vault. Like McLeod, Kendricks is seeking a Shanghai hat-trick after beating world record-holder Renaud Lavillenie with a vault of 5.88m 12 months ago.

source: the-star.co.ke