Justin Lagat wrote several pieces on the U20 plus the Commonwealth Games. I wanted to get this piece up as I had missed it.
From a World Athletics U20 Champion to a national champion and to the Commonwealth Games Champion on the 5th of August, Kenya’s 18-year-old Jackline Chepkoech definitely holds the future of Kenya’s dominance in the women’s 3000m steeplechase event.
The relatively new star, who only came into the limelight last year, registered a new personal best time and a Games record of 9:15.68 to win her first senior title ahead of England’s Elizabeth Bird, who also registered her best ever time of 9:17.79 for the silver medal. The reigning Olympic Champion, Peruth Chemutai of Uganda, won the bronze medal in 9:23.24.
From the start of the race, Chepkoech and Chemutai sprinted away from the rest of the field, making it look like a two-horse race right from the start. After leading the first lap, Chepkoech allowed Chemutai to lead and remained just behind her. After the first 1000m that they crossed in a very fast 2:59.7, Chepkoech went to the front again, but the Ugandan would not let her keep the lead and came to overtake.
Meanwhile, a trio of Bird, Aimee Pratt of England, and Amy Cashin of Australia were slowly beginning to win the fight to close the gap on the two front runners.
In the last 1000m, Chepkoech overtook and quickly began to extend her lead against Chemutai. then, in an impressive fast finish on the last lap, Bird left her pack of chasers behind and began to gain in on Chemutai, overtaking her at the last water jump. Chepkoech had already built a safe gap to comfortably win almost 2 seconds ahead of Bird, who was rapidly reducing the gap on the home stretch to finish second. Limping, Chemutai came in third to secure the bronze medal.
With Chepkoech successfully winning a senior title while at just 18 years of age and Faith Cherotich upgrading her 2021 bronze to gold at the World Athletics U20 championships in Cali, Kenya seems to be assured of dominance in this event in the future.