Who will stop Jebet? Steeplechase, a race made in Kenya for Kenyans

By Jonathan Komen and Michael Chepkwony: Tuesday, May 23rd 2017 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Athletics
(Ltor) Barhain's Ruth Jebet, Kenya's Hyvin Kiyeng Jepkemoi and Kenya's Beatrice Chepkoech compete in the Women's 3000m Steeplechase Final during the athletics event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 15, 2016. / AFP PHOTO

Kiyeng ready for second bite at the cherry as new spirit looms in the air.

It's an interesting statistic. From their rural homes, school, to training regimen, they all share a cocktail of similarities.

They were born and bred in the North Rift, but nowadays they are bitter rivals on the track – with one representing her adopted nation, Bahrain.

And the clash between world 3,000m steeplechase champion Hyvin Kiyeng, World Junior champion Celliphine Chespol, and Bahraini Ruth Jebet will no doubt be a tight fight.

Literally, there will be no love lost when Jebet and Chespol clash. Jebet completed Form Four at Nairobi's Riruta Central in 2014, while Chespol is a KCSE candidate at the school this year.

Jebet is a world record holder (8:52.78) in the water and barriers race, while Chespol is sixth in the world rankings at 9:05.36.

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Kiyeng studied at Sing'ore Girls alongside world 10,000m champion Vivian Cheruiyot and 2007 world 800m champion Janeth Jepkosgei.

Sing'ore Girls and Riruta Central stand out as Kenya's seedbed for global-trotting athletes.

On Saturday, the trio will line up at the third stop of the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Hayward Field in Eugene, USA.

Kiyeng won the Doha IAAF Diamond League meet in 9:00:12, while Jebet finished third. Eighteen-year-old Chespol was second in 9:05:70 as she equalled the world U20 record.

In the Shanghai meet, Jebet won in 9:04.78, ahead of Kiyeng (9:06.72) and Chespol (9:07.08).

It will be interesting to see whether Kiyeng will outsmart Jebet in Eugene and set her eyes on the 16th IAAF World Athletics Championships in London.

"My form is picking on well. I am certain to retain my title in London. I know how to counter Jebet and others, although it's still early for such talk," said Kiyeng.