Focus on Xiamen after Kenyan stars post mixed results in Zurich

Kenya's Beatrice Chepkoech (right) and Bahrain's Winfred Mutile Yavi compete during Women's 3000m Steeplechase Final at the World Athletics Championships Budapest 2023 in Budapest, Hungary on Aug. 27, 2023. [Xinhua]

The Diamond League action shifts to Xiamen, China, two days after a women’s 3,000m steeplechase script similar to the Budapest World Championships’ was reproduced at the Zurich circuit.

The three gold medallists in the women’s steeplechase in Budapest formed the cast in Zurich on Thursday night.

It was the same script, but different venues.

But just like in Budapest, Kenyan-born Bahraini athlete Winfred Mutile Yavi dictated proceedings and confirmed her win at the World Championships.

World Record Holder in the women’s 3000m steeplechase who was in Zurich to prove her former compatriot Yavi wrong settled in second place – a repeat of the Budapest global show.

Surprisingly, World bronze medallist Faith Cherotich finished third in the repeat of the Budapest showdown.

With the Thursday night win in Zurich, Yavi told international media that she was now set to attempt Beatrice Chepkoech's 8:44.32 World Record even as she sets sights on the Diamond League finals in Eugene, USA from September 16 to 17.

Chepkoech ran 9:03.70 behind the red-hot Bahraini who won the race in 9:03.19.

"I am encouraged by the win tonight. It shows that I have the ability to attempt to break the world record. I feel like I am in the form of my life and I can do more,” the Bahraini athlete told the international press in Zurich.

Fresh from sparkling races in Budapest, men’s 1500m bigwigs faced off in Zurich.

Abel Kipsang, who finished fourth at the World Championships finished third in the Zurich circuit.

He finished behind winner Yared Nuguse of the USA and world champion Josh Kerr of Great Britain who placed second.

Kipsang stopped the timer at 3:30.85 as Nuguse and Josh Kerr crossed the line in a time of 3:30.49 and 3:30.51 respectively.

Another mouthwatering action is expected in Xiamen tomorrow with rich casts ready to chase glory.

World 5000m bronze medallist Beatrice Chebet will be looking to shine in Xiamen after competing with multiple record holder Faith Kipyegon in Budapest.

For three Kenyans in the men’s 3000m steeplechase, there is no better way to lick World Championship wounds than with impressive wins in the Xiamen Diamond League.  

World bronze medallist Abraham Kibiwott will be leading Kenyan charges of Olympic bronze medallist Benjamin Kigen and former World Under-20 champion Amos Serem are today chomping at the bit to get back to winning ways in Xiamen.

The 100m sprints will feature Olympic champion Marcell Jacobs and reigning world champion Fred Kerley; both failed to make the final, with the 2019 world champion Christian Coleman missed out on the podium in Budapest also in the mix.

Fresh from clinching silver in Budapest, former World Under-20 champion Emmanuel Wanyonyi and double Commonwealth Wyclife Kinyamal will be eying top spots in 800m.

They will be facing 800m World Champion Marco Arop of Canada in what is likely to be one of the toughest contests in Xiamen.

After a disappointing outing in Budapest, Nelly Chepchirchir will be joining World Under-20 gold medallist Purity Chepkirui in a rich 1500m field.

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