Chepkoech leads Kenyan steeple sweep at Paris DL


Athletics - Diamond League - Charlety Stadium, Paris, France - June 30, 2018 Kenya's Beatrice Chepkoech celebrates ...
Athletics - Diamond League - Charlety Stadium, Paris, France - June 30, 2018 Kenya's Beatrice Chepkoech celebrates after winning the women's 3000m steeplechase REUTERS/Charles Platiau

In Summary

  • The women’s 3000m steeplechase at at Saturday's Diamond League meet in Paris produced some memorable piece of running as Beatrice Chepkoech led a Kenyan podium sweep at the French capital
  • Chepkoech held off the challenge of her 19-year-old compatriot Celliphine Chespol over the final lap to win in a personal best of 8:59.36, the fastest run this season

The women’s 3000m steeplechase at Saturday’s Diamond League meet in Paris produced some memorable piece of running as Beatrice Chepkoech led a Kenyan podium sweep at the French capital.

Chepkoech held off the challenge of her 19-year-old compatriot Celliphine Chespol over the final lap to win in a personal best of 8:59.36, the fastest run this season.

Chespol clocked a season’s best of 9:01.82, with two other Kenyans taking the next two places – 2015 world champion Hyvin Kiyeng clocking 9:03.86 and Norah Jeruto 9:04.17.

World silver medallist Timothy Cheruiyot became the first 1,500-metres runner to dip under 3:30 this year as he easily won in 3:29.71 to continue his season momentum.

South African Caster Semenya, whose middle-distance career could be under threat because of a new IAAF rule, romped to the fourth-fastest women’s 800 metres ever as Qatari Abderrahman Samba produced the second-best 400 metres hurdles of all time.

Olympic and world champion Semenya cruised home in a lifetime best 1:54.25 and the dominant Samba clocked 46.98 seconds for his fifth consecutive Diamond League win.

Semenya, who is challenging a new hyperandrogenism rule by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), took nearly a second off her personal best as she claimed her 25th consecutive final win in the event. Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba was second in 1:55.86.

“I did not expect that,” Semenya, who ran without pacemakers, told reporters. “I was thinking 1:54.99 could be possible but this was great.”

The IAAF rule, against which Semenya has appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), would effectively give her a choice of taking medication to restrict her testosterone level or move to longer-distance events. It is scheduled to become effective in November unless overturned by CAS.

“I am just a human and if you want to be an inspiration to the world and to the youth, you cannot focus on negative things,” Semenya said.

Only Czech world record holder Jarmila Kratochvilova (1:53.28), Ukrainian Nadezhda Olizarenko (1:53.43) and Kenyan Pamela Jelimo (1:54.01) have run faster than the South African.

Samba became just the second runner to break 47 seconds in the 400 metres hurdles. The other was American world record holder Kevin Young, whose 46.78 won the 1992 Olympics.

“I made a small mistake at the start, lost my balance on the first hurdle so I did not expect to run so fast,” said the 22-year-old, whose previous best was 47.41.

Russian world champion Mariya Lasitskene also continued her dominance, winning her 45th consecutive high-jump competition with a sparkling season’s best of 2.04 metres.

All told, seven yearly bests were set or equalled at the meeting.

American world champion Sam Kendricks soared 5.96 metres to win a high-quality pole vault over young Swede Mondo Duplantis (5.90) and French world record holder Renaud Lavillenie (5.84) and American Ronnie Baker gained a share of the year’s 100-metres top time with a personal best 9.88 seconds.

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