Chepkoech smashes women’s steeplechase world record in Monaco

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Monaco, July 21 (IANS) Kenya’s Beatrice Chepkoech grabbed the spotlight as she shattered women’s 3000m steeplechase world record at the IAAF Diamond League meeting here.

The 27-year-old Chepkoech, who had never tasted a medal at previous major tournaments before, on Friday clocked a stunning 8 minutes 44.32 seconds, bettering previous record set by Ruth Jebet of Bahrain by over eight seconds.

Jebet posted 8:52.78 at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Paris in 2016, reports Xinhua news agency.

“I wanted to break the world record. That was the plan from the beginning of the season. I was aware the biggest chance would be at Monaco due to weather, crowds and the whole environment. And this plan worked well,” said Chepkoech, who is the first Kenyan woman to hold the 3000m steeplechase world record.

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“I felt strong during the race. I was thinking maybe I can break 8:50 but not at all was I dreaming about 8:44. I’m sure this time still could be improved. Maybe my next target could be to run under 8:40,” she added at Stade Louis II.

China’s high jumper Wang Yu finished runner-up at 2.30m, before failing on his three attempts at 2.33m.

World silver medallist Danil Lysenko, an Authorized Neutral Athlete (ANA), already won the event with a first-time clearance of 2.33m. He also made it at 2.40m, tying the world lead set by world champion Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar.

Olympic and world women’s 800m champion Caster Semenya prevailed in 1:54.60, while being seemingly on track to challenging the world record of 1:53.28 set 35 years ago.

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“It was just fantastic, only the last 100 meters were a little off for me,” said Semenya. “I was not thinking about the world record today and actually it is not on my mind.”

American rising sprinter Noah Lyles kept his unbeaten record at this year’s Diamond League intact after triumphing in men’s 200m with a world-leading time of 19.65 seconds.

“It gives me confidence in what I can do next. Now I’m going to the Birmingham Diamond League, and finally Zurich to hopefully get a win,” said Lyles, who is set to take one place in world’s sprint in “post-Bolt” era.

In the men’s events, double Olympic and triple world champion Christian Taylor of the United States was crowned in triple jump at 17.86m. Kenya’s Timothy Cheruiyot set this year’s fastest time of 3:28.41 to win the 1500m event.

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