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Chepkoech, Kiyeng through to steeplechase final as Korir disqualified in 400m men heats

ATHLETICS By Bismarck Mutahi in Tokyo, Japan | August 1st 2021
From left- Hyvin Kiyeng, Beatrice Chepkoech and Purity Kirui during the 3000mts steeplechase at the National trials for the Tokyo Olympic Games at The Moi International Sports Stadium, Kasarani, June 18, 2021. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Kenyans Beatrice Chepkoech and Hyvin Kiyeng are through to Wednesday’s 3,000m steeplechase final, but youngster Purity Kirui, who was making her debut at the Olympics fell at the heats in Tokyo 2020.

It was also not a good day in the office on Sunday for Kenya’s only runner in the men 400m Emmanuel Korir as he was disqualified for a false start.

World record holder and world champion over the distance, Chepkoech clocked 9:19.82 to finish third in heat two, but said she was fighting not only the water and barriers, but also the punishing heat in Tokyo.

From left- Athletes Emmanuel Korir, Ferguson Rotich and Michael Saruni competing in the 800m during the national trials for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games at The Moi International Sports Stadium, Kasarani, June 19, 2021. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

After the safe passage to the final, Chepkoech also said she was hoping for the best in the final as the injury she has fought with throughout the year was still a problem.

“I am happy to have reached the final and will be hoping that we will do well as a team. I am fighting an injury, but I promise to fight to the end,” Chepkoech said after the race on Sunday.

On her part Kiyeng, won heat three and also promised to sit down with Chepkoech to ensure that the medals go to Kenya.

“The heat was too much, but I am happy that I have qualified for the final,” Kiyeng said after clocking 9:23.17 to win heat three.

Kirui who raced in the first heat finished fifth with only the first top three and another six best loser making it to the final. Kirui’s time of 9:30.13 was not among the top six best losers.

“It was my first Olympics and even though I am disappointed not to qualify for the final, I am still happy to have raced at the Olympics. The heat was too much for me though,” Kirui said.

The races in the morning on Sunday was under very punishing conditions with the stadium temperature monitor moving between 37-40 degrees.

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