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04 December 2023

Chespol stoops to conquer 3000m steeplechase at Diamond League meet

Pic: AFP


Teenaged Kenyan star Celliphine Chespol recovered from a lost shoe to win the 3000m steeplechase with the second fastest time in history at the Prefontaine Classic Diamond League meeting on Friday.

Chespol, still just 18, stormed to victory after a thrilling duel with Olympic champion and world record holder Ruth Jebet and fellow Kenyan Beatrice Chepkoech over the closing laps at Eugene's Hayward Field.

Chespol's hopes of a win looked to have evaporated when she stumbled on the water jump on the penultimate lap, appearing to lose her shoe as Jebet and Chepkoech pulled ahead.

Despite stooping to adjust her footwear, the teenager regained her composure and clawed back the lost ground before producing a devastating burst of speed up the home straight to finish in 8min 58.78sec. Only the Kenyan-born Jebet of Bahrain, the world record holder with 8:52.78, has run faster.

"It was difficult but I try my best. I'm happy of course," Chespol said afterwards.

Chespol's outstanding performance was the highlight of the opening night of the two-day event, which resumes Saturday with a star-studded programme.

In the night's other main race, the women's 5000m, Ethiopia's Genzebe Dibaba failed in her bid to better the world record of 14:11.15 set by her sister Tirunesh in 2008.

Dibaba, the 1,500m world champion, was racing against the clock for the final five laps after leaving the pack behind but could only finish in 14:25.22, well outside the world record, and her own personal best of 14:15.41 set in 2015.