Ericson Kiprono @PeopleSport11
World 3,000m steeplechase record holder Beatrice Chepkoech is optimistic that she will do well in the Shanghai Diamond League on Saturday.
Chepkoech, who started her 2019 season by competing at the World Cross-Country Championships in Denmark in March, where she was seventh in the senior women’s race, will lead a galaxy of Kenyan stars in the Chinese city, the second stop in the Diamond League circuit.
“I love the Shanghai track. I hope it will offer me another chance to stake claim to the overall title as I launch my Diamond Trophy defence,” said Chepkoech.
Chepkoech showed her prowess in Monaco last year when she cut eight seconds off the world record of 8:52.78, finishing in 8:44.32 to underline her status as the new queen of the race.
She hopes to repeat that feat in Shanghai where she is up against compatriot Hyvin Kiyeng, the 2015 world champion and Olympic silver medallist, Celliphine Chespol, the current world junior champion, and Norah Jeruto, the 2016 African champion.
“I hope to be in good shape. The season has many events and one is the Shanghai Diamond League, where I hope to win,” she said.
Besides Kiyeng, Chespol and Jeruto, Chepkoech will also face stiff competition from Mercy Chepkirui, Fancy Cherono, Daisy Jepkemoi and Caroline Tuigong, all from Kenya, as well as Ethiopian Ansa Weynshet and Chemutai Peruth from Uganda.
Chepkoech was in Doha, the first stop in the 14-tier circuit, where she run the flat 3,000m race, finishing fourth with world 5,000m champion Hellen Obiri emerging victorious.
She has good memories of Shanghai where she won following Jeruto’s fall at the home straight after the pair had broken free before the final lap.
“I look forward to the challenge again. I love running in China and Shanghai has a fast-track,” she added.
Chepkoech, also a 1,500m specialist, won bronze for Kenya in the 2015 All African Games in Congo Brazzaville in 1,500m before finishing fourth in the Rio Olympics 3,000m steeplechase won by Kenyan-born Bahraini Ruth Jebet.
The Shanghai field also includes 2015 world bronze medalist Gesa-Felicitas Krause of USA, Olympian Colleen Quigley and Asian Games silver medallist Xu Shuangshuang from China.