Steeplechaser Chepkoech off to Doha with maiden win in Kenya

Nairobi (AFP) –


World 3,000m steeplechase record holder Beatrice Chepkoech secured a berth at the world championships in Doha with her first ever victory in the event on home soil at the Kenyan trials on Thursday.

The 28-year-old, who only made the transition to steeplechase three years ago, has won five Diamond League races this season and successfully defended her world best title in Zurich on August 29.

Chepkoech clocked a modest 9:45:15 at the trials in Nairobi, ahead of 2015 world champion Hyvin Kiyeng (9:45.20) and Celliphine Chespol in 9:45.25.

The trio, who will try in Doha to wrest the world title from American defending champion Emma Coburn, crossed the line together in a show of unity.

But for Chepkoech, the victory held a personal significance -- it was her first 3000m steeplechase win in her native Kenya since switching from road racing to the steeplechase in 2016.

"It's given me a great feeling, winning my first race in Kenya," she said.

At the last world championships in London in 2017, an inexperienced Chepkoech finished fourth, missing a medal.

But since then she has dominated the field. In July, at a Diamond League meet in California, Chepkoech finished well ahead of the chasing pack with 8min 55.58 sec -- the fifth fastest time in history.