Rivalries electrify Paris Diamond League meeting

Beatrice Chepkoech
Beatrice Chepkoech (L) and Celiphine Chepsol celebrates winning the 3000m steeplechase women finals during the Trials for IAAF athletics championships at Nyayo national stadium on June 24, 2017. Photo/Stafford Ondego/www.sportpicha.com

The IAAF Diamond League season resumed after a two-week break in Paris, France on Saturday, as Olympics and World Champions graced the meeting.

Joy and disappointments highlighted the women’s 3,000m steeplechase event as Olympian and World Cross champion Beatrice Chepkoech led a Kenyan 1-2-3 finish.

Olympic title holder Kenyan-born Bahraini Ruth Jebet failed to improve on her world record of 8:52.78.

Chepkoech stopped the timer at 9:01.69 followed by World Champion Hyvin Kiyeng (9:06.00). World U20 record holder Celliphine Chepteek Chepkoech made her second podium finish of the league at 9:07.54

The 20-year-old Jebet, had hoped to improve upon the world record she had set at the Meeting in Paris last year in the Stade de France, lost all hope of that with a moment of misjudgment at the water jump with just over three laps remaining.

“My aim was to run 9.00 but the wind was too strong and my body was not moving,” Chepkoech told the IAAF.

“In London, I think the main opponents will be my Kenyan teammates. Of course, we will cooperate, but it will be a big fight too.”

Olympic 1,500m champion and World Championships silver medalist Faith Chepng’etich Kipyegon braved the windy conditions at the French capital for the first runners up position.

World Championships silver medalist Sifan Hassan, an Ethiopian-Dutch, rekindled the East African middle-distance rivalry as she held off Chepng’etich to gather 16 points at first place in the 1,500m.

It was not a walk in the park for the Kenyan male athletes in the 3000m and the 800m with only three podium finishes.

London Olympics silver medalist Amos Nijel from Botswana put up a strong challenge against Bett Kipyegon, Diamond Trophy winner Ferguson Rotich and Robbet Biwott who were heading for a podium sweep.

Nigel held off the three to win in a season best (SB) of 1:44.24 while Bett, Rotich and Biwott also set SB of 1:44.36,  1:44.37, and  1:45.05 for positions 2-3-4.

The men’s 3,000m was an Easten African affair with a dramatic finish from Ethiopia’s 19-year-old world indoor champion Yomif Kejelcha and Kenya’s 21-year-old Ronald Kwemoi, winner at two IAAF Diamond League meetings already this season as they charged for the finish line.

However, former World Cross champion Edris Muktar also from Ethiopia spoiled the party for the two to cut the tape in 7:32.31 to gather 11 points.

Marrakech African Championships 1,500m bronze medalist Kwemoi finished second at 7:32.88 as Kejelcha clocked 7:33.37.

Focus now shifts to the eighth series in Lausanne on Thursday where more Kenyans led by former World Champion Eunice Sum, Beijing World Championships Silver medalists Elijah Manangoi and Caleb Mwangangi will headline the 800m, 1,500m and 5,000m events respectively.

Materials from the IAAF.ORG was used to compile this report.

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Story By Charity Wanja
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