After a disastrous run by the women steeplechase team at the 2017 London World Championships, the team returns to the World Championship with the sole aim of getting back the title they lost to America two years ago.
Though Kenyan women haven’t had the same dominance as their male counterparts simply because the women’s race was introduced in 2005 in Helsinki, Kenya is strongly represented in Doha by world record holder Beatrice Chepkoech and Hyvin Kiyeng, the 2015 world champion.
The squad also consists of two-time World Under-20 champion Celliphine Chespol and African Games champion Fancy Cherono.
The quartet has vowed to bring the title back home as they get into the action with the heats today at the Khalifa International Stadium.
“Our main objective is to run as a team and ensure all of us are in the final. We don’t want to repeat the same mistakes we made in London. All of us are in good shape, it’s just a matter of running as a team to ensure we deliver victory,” Kiyeng said.
Chepkoech has waited for two years for her chance to make amends for what happened in London where she headed to the World Championships on the verge of a breakthrough, but she greatly reduced her chances of a medal in the opening stages when she missed the water jump and had to go back to clear it, losing valuable ground on the leaders.
Chepkoech rebounded from the disappointment by breaking the world record clocking 8:44.32 in Monaco the following year. Ever since she has consolidated her status as the world’s number one.
“I just pray to be in good health as we head to the World championships. I promise we will run as a team and win gold for Kenya,” said Chepkoech prior to Doha worlds.
Having appeared at the World Championships four times previously, Eunice Sum, the 2013 world champion and bronze medallist in 2015 will bank on her experience to ensure she runs past the heats in today’s women’s 800m.
Prior to Kenyan trials, no Kenyan woman had run under two minutes but the 31-year-old clocked 1:58.99 at the bruising trials to finish second behind Jackline Wambui, the World Under-18 champion.
However, Wambui was dropped for failing to comply with Differences in Sexual Development requirements.
In men’s 5,000m heats, Kenya will be represented by Nicholas Kimeli and Jacob Krop. The two will hope to sail through to the finals. Kimeli has a PB of 12:57.90 while Krop has best of 13:14.44.
In the men’s 400m hurdles, Nicholas Chirchir of Kenya Defence Forces will be the sole representative in the event. Chirchir who is making his debut in the national team will hope to progress past the first round.