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Chepkoech smashes steeple world record in Monaco meet

July 22, 2018

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MONACO: Noah Lyles (second L) sprints to win the men’s 200m event in the Diamond League at the Stade Louis II Stadium.—Reuters
MONACO: Noah Lyles (second L) sprints to win the men’s 200m event in the Diamond League at the Stade Louis II Stadium.—Reuters

MONACO: New American sprint hope Noah Lyles raced to a dominant 200m victory in Friday’s Diamond League meet in Monaco, where South African Caster Semenya also shining in the 800m and Kenyan Beatrice Chepkoech smashed the steeplechase world record.

Lyles celebrated his 21st birthday in style, the wannabe rapper scorching to victory in 19.65 seconds — the fastest run this season and a meet record.

World champion Ramil Guliyev of Turkey finished second in 19.99, but Lyles was well clear of the field in perfect, balmy conditions at Monaco’s Louis II stadium.

It was another gun-to-tape win for Semenya, who is challenging the IAAF over controversial new rules track and field’s ruling body plan to introduce on high testosterone levels in female athletes.

She shot out past even the pacesetters and with Czechoslovakian Jarmila Kratochvilova’s 1983 world record of 1:53.28 seemingly in imminent danger, Semenya blasted through the first lap in 55.76sec and increased her lead over the chasing pack as she lengthened her stride down the back straight before rounding the final bend.

The 27-year-old, double Olympic champion (2012, 2016) and three-time world champion (2009, 2011, 2017), eventually tied up slightly as she pushed through to the line in 1:54.60, also a meet record.

But it was a relatively unknown Kenyan, Chepkoech, who stole the plaudits by setting a new 3000m steeplechase world record.

Chepkoech, 27, ran 8min 44.32sec to shatter the previous best set in 2016 by Kenyan-born Bahraini Ruth Jebet, whose name headlined an Athletics Integrity Unit report released earlier Friday into alleged doping.

Olympic champion Jebet had run 8:52.78 before Chepkoech, aided by a couple of pacemakers, shot around more than six seconds faster, her remarkable effort also smashing her own previous personal best by more than 15 seconds.

KENYA’S Beatrice Chepkoech celebrates her new world record in the women’s 3000m steeplechase.—AFP
KENYA’S Beatrice Chepkoech celebrates her new world record in the women’s 3000m steeplechase.—AFP

“I wanted to break the world record, that was the plan from the start of the season,” she said. “I felt strong during the race and was thinking I might be able to break 8:50, but not at all dreaming about 8:44. It’s a great feeling to bring the world record back to Kenya.”

American world silver medallist Courtney Frerichs took second in a North American record of 9:00.85.

Marie-Josee Ta Lou racked up a fifth win of the season in the Diamond League by winning the 100m in 10.89sec ahead of Ivorian compatriot Murielle Ahoure (11.01sec), with Jamaica’s double Olympic sprint champion Elaine Thompson taking third (11.02).

Setting the scene for a night of unforgettable track action, Shaunae Miller-Uibo shattered the Bahamas and Diamond League records with a blistering 48.97sec in the opening 400m, Bahrain’s Salwa Eid Nasr coming in second in an Asian record of 49.08.

“I’m so happy I got this sub-49 I was waiting for,” said Miller-Uibo, who became only the fifth female in history to have gone sub-49 in the 400m and sub-22 in the 200m. “The next goal is to remain consistent on this level and long term another barrier is 48 seconds.”

The world record of 47.60sec set by East German Marita Koch back in 1985.

That scintillating start to action was followed up by Botswana’s Nijel Amos running a season-topping 1:42.14 in the 800m, and then Timothy Cheruiyot of Kenya also setting a world lead (and personal best) of 3:28.41 in the 1500m.

Botswana’s Nijel Amos won the 800m in 1:42.14 and Kenyan Timothy Cheruiyot clocked 3:28.41 in the 1,500m.

Moroccan world silver medallist Soufiane El Bakkali took the men’s steeplechase in 7:58.15 and Russia’s Danil Lysenko equalled the season’s best in the high jump with a leap of 2.40 metres.

Published in Dawn, July 22nd, 2018