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Steeplechaser Chepkoech off to Doha with maiden win in Kenya

Last updated 10 months ago | By AFP

Beatrice Chepkoech won the Diamond League in Zurich last month and has now secured her place at the world championships in Doha [Courtesy]

World 3,000m steeplechase record holder Beatrice Chepkoech secured a berth at the world championships in Doha with her first-ever victory in the event on home soil at the Kenyan trials on Thursday.

The 28-year-old, who only made the transition to steeplechase three years ago, has won five Diamond League races this season and successfully defended her world best title in Zurich on August 29.

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Chepkoech clocked a modest 9:45:15 at the trials in Nairobi, ahead of 2015 world champion Hyvin Kiyeng (9:45.20) and Celliphine Chespol in 9:45.25.

The trio, who will try in Doha to wrest the world title from American defending champion Emma Coburn, crossed the line together in a show of unity.

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But for Chepkoech, the victory held a personal significance -- it was her first 3000m steeplechase win in her native Kenya since switching from road racing to the steeplechase in 2016.

"It's given me a great feeling, winning my first race in Kenya," she said.

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At the last world championships in London in 2017, an inexperienced Chepkoech finished fourth, missing a medal.

But since then she has dominated the field. In July, at a Diamond League meet in California, Chepkoech finished well ahead of the chasing pack with 8min 55.58 sec -- the fifth-fastest time in history.

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