Budding National Police Service (NPS) athlete Beatrice Chepkoech underlined her growing stature in the women steeplechase when she emphatically won in Paris, France, setting her personal best as well as the world’s leading time this year on Saturday night.
The 27-year-old who won her first Diamond League steeplechase race in Shanghai, China last May displayed great strength to hold off among others, former world champion Hyvin Kiyeng and the vastly talented Celliphine Chespol with an outstanding 8:59.36.
Chepkoech, silver medalist in Commonwealth Games 1,500m pressured pacers, Ann Gathoni and Caroline Tuigong through a fast opening 1,000m (3:01.25) then remained upfront when the rabbiting duo had run their race.
She led the field of 12 athletes through another scorching 1,000m, passing the 2,000m mark in 5:58.78 with Chespol as the closest pursuer.
Kiyeng struggled in the race trading third and fourth places with Kenyan-born Bahraini Winfred Mutile and looked to have given up hope for another victory in the Diamond league trail with 200m left. Chespol offered a fight for top position but the mercurial Chepkoech engaged a higher gear upon clearing the water huddle, speeding off to take victory with a healthy buffer of over three seconds.
Chespol clocked 9:01.82 to take second place as Kiyeng settled for third in 9:03.86. Mutile came in fourth trailed by Kenyans Roseline Chepngetich and Daisy Chepkemei.
“I am grateful for this result. My main goal is to try to break the world record in Monaco. Now I feel I still have some space to improve and can think about it. Maybe the next season and 2020 will become my years when I can expect something big,” Chepkoech said after obliterating the field in Paris.
World silver medalist Timothy Cheruiyot also set a world leading time in men 1,500m after scorching a talented field to nail a 3:29.71 time. Cheruiyot ran a tactical race, bossing the field after tracking pacers Mounir Akbache and Vincent Kibet through 54.83 opening lap and 1:53.24 at 800m.
At 1,200m Cheruiyot posted 2:50.21 in the lead and opened his gas tanks to finish strongly. Djiboutian Souleiman Ayanleh came in second in 3:31.77 while Kenya Defense Force’s Charles Simotwo made a darting sprint in the final straight to claim third spot in a seasonal best time of 3:32.61.
In a non-Diamond men’s 800m, World Champion Ferguson Rotich sped from the back of an eleven-man field to take victory in 1:41.73. In what is becoming a norm to Jonathan Kitilit, the 24-year-old was piped from first spot at the death after leading into the final straight and into the last 15 meters. Kitilit settled for an all too familiar second spot in 1:43.83 as Spaniard Saul Ordonez was third in 1:44.36. Alfred Kipketer finished 5th in 1:44.62.