Kenyan steeplechaser Lydia Chepkurui to lift Diamond League crown

Lydia Chepkurui on her way to finishing second in the women’s 3,000m steeplechase at the World Championships in Moscow. The race was won by compatriot Milcah Chemos.  [PHOTO: COURTESY]

Fresh from her silver medal feat at the just concluded World Athletics Championships in Moscow, Lydia Chepkurui is now focusing on lifting this year’s women’s 3,000m steeplechase Diamond League title.

Chepkurui is tied on 12 points with fellow Kenyan, World champion Milcah Chemos, ahead of the September 6 leg to be held in Brussels.

“What is remaining for me this year is to win the Diamond League series in Brussels on September 6. Whoever wins it between me and Chemos will claim the title. I am determined to clinch it. I am going to  embark on serious preparations to ensure I finish at the top,” said Chepkurui moments after arriving in the country on Monday.

Talking about the race in Moscow, Chepkurui admitted that it was not easy given the strong opposition from Ethiopian athletes, but pointed out that their tactics worked perfectly.

“Going into the final, we all knew it was not going to be easy. We were facing a strong Ethiopian team as we had competed with some of them in the Diamond League.

“We had planned to have a faster race and when the Ethiopians decided to go faster than us, we were excited and knew they had played into our hands and fallen for our plans. They set the pace for us and from then on, we wanted to bring the title home,” she said.

She said they were motivated by the men’s dominance of the event and believes they can maintain the same in future competitions.

“After this, we want to win all future steeplechase events and we know we can do it. The men have done it for a long time and now is our turn to dominate this event,” she added.

Meanwhile, Kenyan captain Julius Yego is excited by his fourth place finish in the javelin and has urged his supporters not to give up despite missing out on a medal.

Yego managed a throw of 85.40m to finish fourth. The throw was also the new national record and his personal best.

“I am happy about this performance because it helped me set a new personal best mark and my goal of throwing 85m this year. It was disappointing to miss the medal bracket but there is still another chance to make up for it.

“I want to urge my fans not to give up. Personally, I have not given up and will continue to fight for a medal. At the moment, I want to focus on the Commonwealth Games and the African Championships coming up next year,” he said.

Yego also said he is happy to have led a successful team to the global event as their captain.

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Lydia Chepkurui Diamond League Ethiopia