September 30, 2019 / 7:44 PM / 16 days ago

Kenya's Chepkoech powers to women's steeplechase gold

DOHA (Reuters) - Kenya’s Beatrice Chepkoech stormed away from the field to win the 3,000 metres women’s steeplechase gold medal at the world athletics championships on Monday, making amends for a mistake that cost her a place on the podium two years ago.

Sep 30, 2019; Doha; Qatar; Beatrice Chepkoech (KEN) celebrates after winning the women's steeplechase in a championship record 8:57.84 during the IAAF World Athletics Championships at Khalifa International Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The world record holder made sure she left herself plenty of room for any possible errors in Doha as she stormed to a 20m lead after the opening lap and then kept the chasing pack at bay, powering home in a time of eight minutes, 57.84 seconds.

The diminutive Kenyan crossed a commanding five seconds clear of 2017 champion Emma Coburn. The American had to settle for silver while Germany’s Gesa Felicitas Krause took the bronze for a second time.

“I knew everyone was in good shape and I decided to be in front all the race,” said Chepkoech. “I was excited to be in front and control the race.

“I was watching the screen and they way they were coming and I knew that if I put the effort in to run the first kilometre fast she (Coburn) will not follow me anymore.

“There was a lot of pressure on me because everywhere in the media in Kenya they were expecting gold from me.”

Two years ago in London, Chepkoech was left heartbroken when she missed the water jump and had to double back to clear it, losing ground on the leaders.

Such was Chepkoech’s lead on Monday, which at one point stretched to 60m, that the 28-year-old could have fallen on her back, picked herself up and still come away with the victory.

Coburn made last ditch attempt with one lap to go to reel in the Kenyan but could not dent Chepkoech’s advantage.

“I have my limits in the first kilometre so I really measured my effort early on,” said Coburn. “I expected her to do that.

“I gauged my effort... with about 800m (left) I ran hard for home as I did at the U.S. championships.

“I took big lessons from my races this year.”

Editing by Ken Ferris and Pritha Sarkar

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