Tag Archives: IAAF Diamond League meeting

World record holder Chepkoech set Sights on next target

For most spectators in Friday’s steamy and spectacular IAAF Diamond Leaguemeeting in the Stade Louis II, Beatrice Chepkoech’s 3000m steeplechase world record looked on with about three laps to go. As far as Chepkoech was concerned, however, it was on from the moment the gun went…

What became clear soon after she had taken an extraordinary margin of eight seconds off the world record mark of 8:52.78 in running 8:44.32 was how little of a surprise the achievement was to this 27-year-old Kenyan – albeit that even she had not anticipated running quite as fast.

“I wanted to break the world record; that was the plan from beginning of the season,” she said. “And I was aware the biggest chance will be in Monaco due to weather, crowds and the whole environment. And this plan worked well.

“I was thinking maybe I can break 8:50 but not at all was I dreaming about 8:44. And this time still could be improved I’m sure.”

After pacemaker Caroline Tuigong, the 2006 world U20 champion, had led to the 1000-metre mark in 2:55.23 before veering off, Chepkoech pushed on relentlessly, running her next two laps in 68.6 and 70.5.

When she reached 2000 metres in 5:49.81, looking smooth and untroubled, something special was clearly on.

Chepkoech slowed on the penultimate lap, running 71.4, before accelerating to embrace her historic moment with a final lap which the meeting organisers gave at 66.8.

“On my last lap I watched the time and I knew that I was going to break the world record and that was what I wished for,” she told the IAAF.

“It is great feeling I brought back to Kenya the women’s steeplechase record, I’m very proud of it. And that after six years of running and three years with steeplechase.”

According to Kenyan news sources, the question of whether Chepkoech would be running the steeplechase this season was something of an issue following the debacle at last year’s IAAF World Championships. She put paid to her excellent chance of winning the title when she missed a water jump and had to double back and put it right before finishing fourth in a race that ended with unexpected success for the United States as Emma Coburn and Courtney Frerichs won respective gold and silver.

“Of course I was angry,” she said as she reflected on her gaffe on Friday. “But that did not stop me from continuing to believe in myself, on the contrary.”

Nevertheless, it seemed that some others were not convinced. It was reported that she had been obliged to run the 1500m rather than the 3000m steeplechase at this year’s Commonwealth Games – where she took silver in 4:03.09 behind South Africa’s Caster Semenya – and has since wanted to prove a point by running a “strong PB”.

But there is no doubt that Chepkoech is an unusually adaptable athlete in terms of events. She began as a road runner, switching to the track in 2015, when she set a 1500m personal best of 4:03.28 and earned a bronze medal at the African Games.

She finished that season with a run in the 2000m steeplechase at the ISTAF Berlin meeting and made a successful transition to the full-distance event the following year, finishing fourth and second respectively at the Eugene and Stockholm IAAF Diamond League meetings before missing out on an Olympic medal by one place.

Chepkoech, who runs for Kenya’s national police service, underlined her outstanding breadth of talent at last month’s service championships, where she retained her steeplechase title in 10:00.60 before winning the 1500m in 4:07.69 – beating the 2013 world champion Eunice Sum into second place – before completing a hat-trick of titles in the 400m hurdles, where she ran 60.70.

Coached by 2006 European 800m champion Bram Som and a training partner of world and Olympic 1500m champion Faith Kipyegon, Chepkoeche is now due to represent Kenya – this time back in the 3000m steeplechase – at the African Championships in Asaba, Nigeria from 1-5 August, along with the world U20 champion Celliphine Chespol, 10th in Monaco, and Fancy Cherono.

It was a measure of her superiority on the night that second-placed Frerichs broke Coburn’s US record of 9:02.58, finishing in 9:00.85 to become the sixth fastest woman of all time – and she was more than 16 seconds adrift of the Kenyan.

“That race was incredible!” said Frerichs. “Eight seconds under the world record – it’s such a huge step for the event, such a promotion.

“I’m so proud of this American record and what will keep us going is the nine minutes line and that’s what I’ll be aiming for. It feels amazing to be an American among all the Kenyans and I have to give so much credit to Emma for making this event what it is now in America. Who knows what’s coming next?”

On that subject, Chepkoech has already begun speculating: “Maybe my next target could be to run under 8.40.”

Tirop targets Africa C’ships gold despite road race supremacy

World 10,000m bronze medalist Agnes Tirop says that despite her dominance in road races, she remains a track athlete and is focused on winning gold at the Africa Championships, which will be held in Asaba, Nigeria in August.

Tirop, who won gold at the Nanjing World Cross Country in China back in 2015, has had problems with injuries, which curtailed her rise in the sport.

However, she has emerged stronger in late 2017 and this season and hopes to continue growing stronger on her redemption path.

“I had a good race on the track in Doha (over 3,000m at the IAAF Diamond League meeting there earlier this month) – and I still think of myself as a track runner even though I won the world cross country title in 2015 and in Bengaluru, India,” said Tirop on Sunday.

The Kenyan will resume the premier Diamond League series in Rome on May 30 and hopes she will be strong enough to contest for medals in the 5,000m race.

“I know my finishing speed is fine, so I hope to still be at the front when Kenya trials for the Africa Championships are help in June. I know I can rely on my speed to have an edge over my rivals,” she added.

The 23-year-old won the world 10km race in Bengaluru, India on Sunday together with compatriot Geoffrey Kamworor, who is also the World Half Marathon champion.

Kamworor has not lost a race since 2017. He has featured in four top competitions and has always emerged stronger.

His unbeaten streak, which started with his win at the New York Marathon in November, has continued through his four outings in 2018.

“I went to India thinking about the course record and tried the best I could, but I could feel the temperature rising as I was warming up. I was jogging for just three minutes before starting to sweat,” said Kamworor.

The New York marathon champion has not ruled out competing for Kenya at the Africa Championships.

However, that decision will have to be taken in discussion with his management and coaches. But he is certain that he will be ready to defend his New York marathon crown.

“I have not made up my mind about running in the Africa Championships. That will be decided later. What I know is I want to defend my crown in New York. I skipped a lot of track competition last year and early this year to focus on the World Half marathon and now I have to decide which, events to focus on,” he added.

xinhuanet.com

Kipruto to face Jager in Eugene Diamond League

Conseslus Kipruto and Evan Jager will return to the Prefontaine Classic on 25-26 May to renew their steeplechase rivalry at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Eugene.

The field includes six of the top seven finishers from last year’s World Championships and every IAAF Diamond Trophy winner since its 2010 inception.

World, Olympic and Commonwealth champion Kipruto has won medals at every international championship he has contested, dating back to the 2011 World U18 Championships. The three-time Diamond Trophy winner was only 18 when he won his first Pre Classic race in 2013.

Olympic silver medallist Jager has been North America’s best steeplechaser since first taking up the event in 2012. The world bronze medallist recorded the fastest time in the world last year with 8:01.29, his fastest time since setting his third North American record of 8:00.45 in 2015.

After just missing an Olympic medal in Rio, Morocco’s Soufiane El Bakkali finished in between Kipruto and Jager at last year’s World Championships to take the silver medal. The 22-year-old won at the IAAF Diamond League meetings in Stockholm and Rabat last year before setting a PB of 8:04.83 at the IAAF Diamond League final in Brussels.

Jairus Birech won the first of his two Diamond League trophies as a 21-year-old in 2014. Now 25, the Kenyan has twice broken the eight-minute barrier and is the field’s second fastest at 7:58.41.

Paul Kipsiele Koech is history’s third-fastest ever at 7:54.31 and no one has cracked the eight-minute barrier more times than his nine such clockings. After a season of focusing on the marathon, the 36-year-old is returning to the steeplechase, the event in which he won the Diamond League’s first three trophies.

Four Kenyans in the field will be making their US debut: Commonwealth silver medallist Abraham Kibiwott, world U20 champion Amos Kirui, Benjamin Kigen and Nicholas Bett.

Stanley Kebenei finished fifth at the World Championships last year. Earlier that season, he recorded a PB of 8:08.30 to move to second on the US all-time list. US compatriot Hillary Bor missed out on last year’s World Championships final, but finished seventh at the 2016 Olympics.

Others in the field include USA’s Andy Bayer, Canadian record-holder Matt Hughes, and Ethiopian teenagers Tesfaye Deriba and Getnet Wale.

Organisers for the IAAF

2018 IAAF Diamond League calendar
4 May – Doha, QAT
12 May – Shanghai, CHN
26 May – Eugene, USA
31 May – Rome, ITA
7 Jun – Oslo, NOR
10 Jun – Stockholm, SWE
30 Jun – Paris, FRA
5 Jul – Lausanne, SUI
13 Jul – Rabat, MAR
20 Jul – Monaco, MON
21-22 Jul – London, GBR
18 Aug – Birmingham, GBR
30 Aug – Zurich, SUI
31 Aug – Brussels, BEL