Olympics: Kiyeng and Chepkoech progress to 3000m steeplechase final

The first three in each heat and the next six fastest progress to the final on Wednesday.

TOKYO, JAPAN - AUGUST 01: Beatrice Chepkoech of Team Kenya runs ahead of Luiza Gega of Team Albania in round one of the Women's 3000m Steeplechase heats on day nine of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 01, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

2015 World Champion Hyvin Kiyeng and World Record holder Beatrice Chepkoech safely progressed to the 3000 metres steeplechase final set for Wednesday, August 4.

Kiyeng, the 2015 world champion and Olympic silver medallist in Rio five years ago, will be hoping for a gold this time as she won her heat with a controlled run, clocking a time of 9:23.17, as temperatures hit the high 30s in Celsius on the track.

Kiyeng controlled her race, sticking to the front from gun to tape. At the last water hurdle, she was in the lead in a group of five, all who looked keen to clinch one of the top three automatic qualifying slots.

She however proved to be the stronger of the five, holding on to the front to end up victorious ahead of Slovakia’s Marusa Mismas-Zrimsek. Ethiopia’s Mekides Abebe was third in a time of 9:23.95.

The heat was among the quickest with the fourth and fifth placed Victoria Constien of the USA and Great Britain’s Elizabeth Bird earning non automatic qualification.

She will be joined in the final by compatriot Beatrice Chepkoech, the 2019 world champion who broke the world record in 2018 with a stunning 8:44.32 performance in Monaco.

At the Olympic Stadium on Sunday, Chepkoech didn't rush her race, seemingly to preserve her energy, and finished third in her heat with a time of 9:19.82, enough for a place in the medal round.

But the Kenyans won't have it easy and among those who are looking to challenge for podium finishes is Asian Games gold medallist Bahrain's Winfred Mutile Yavi, who won her race with a time of 9:10.80, the fastest in the heats.

Also contending will be American Courtney Frerichs, who impressively defeated Chepkoech to win her race with a 9:19.34 performance.

The 2017 world silver-medallist will be joined on the hunt for medals by compatriot Emma Coburn after she went through the line in 9:16.91 to finish third, enough to propel her to the final.

African Games champion Ethiopia's Mekides Abebe, who notched the second fastest performance this year of 9:02.52, is through to the final after finishing third in her heat.

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