Tokyo Olympics: Chepkoech, Kiyeng qualify for 3,000m steeplechase final

Kenya’s quest to sweep the podium in the women’s 3,000m steeplechase at the Tokyo Olympics has been dashed after Purity Kirui failed to make it to the finals.

In the heats held Sunday morning, Kirui  placed fifth in 9:30.13 to miss out on the three automatic slots and also the six fastest times.

The race was won by Kenyan-born Winfred Yavi of Bahrain who timed 9:10.80 with Uganda’s Peruth Chemutai placing second in 9:12.72

World champion Beatrice Chepkoech and the 2015 world champion Hyvin Kiyeng are now tasked with winning Kenya her first gold medal in the event.

Chepkoech, the world record holder over the distance placed third in Heat 2 after clocking 9:19.82, in a race won by Courtney Frerichs of USA in 9:19.62

Chepkoech went for an early lead from the start but would drop off to third with two laps to go.

As she approached the last 200m, she had to overcome a late surge from Ethiopian youngster Zerfe Wondemagegn to finish third and seal an automatic qualification in the finals.

It was another dominant display for the in-form Kiyeng who took victory in Heat 3 when she clocked 9:23.17

Kiyeng has been in a scintillating form since winning the Kenyan trials on June having secured back to back victories at the Diamond League.

The women’s 3,000m steeplechase finals will be held on Wednesday.

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