Chepkoech smashes 3000m steeplechase world record by over 8s
MONACO (AP) — Mission accomplished for Beatrice Chepkoech, who set out to break the 3,000-meter steeplechase world record and smashed it by more than eight seconds on Friday.
Chepkoech clocked 8 minutes, 44.32 seconds at the Herculis Diamond League meeting, becoming the first Kenyan woman to hold the 3,000 steeplechase world record.
The previous mark was 8:52.78 set by Ruth Jebet of Bahrain two years ago in Paris.
Chepkoech, who finished fourth at the 2016 Olympics and 2017 world championships, dropped all of her rivals with three laps left and won by more than 16 seconds.
“I wanted to break the world record, that was the plan from the beginning of the season,” she said. “And I was aware the biggest chance would be at Monaco due to weather, crowds, and the whole environment. And this plan worked well.”
In Chepkoech’s slipstream, Courtney Frerichs was a distant runner-up but crossed in 9:00.85 to set the U.S. record.
Chepkoech’s feat came just hours after the IAAF announced Jebet, the Olympic champion, was among 109 athletes and coaches facing disciplinary action for doping and other offences. Jebet was included in a list of athletes provisionally suspended after a positive test for EPO in February.
Earlier, Olympic champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas set a world-leading time of 48.97 seconds to win the 400 meters.
Miller-Uibo, who set the previous fastest time in the world this year of 49.52 in Eugene in May, came off the final turn with a small lead over 20-year-old Bahrain runner Salwa Eid Naser and held over the final section to set a new meet record in the Principality.
Naser, who won the past four Diamond League meetings in Oslo, Stockholm, Paris, and Lausanne, finished second in 49.08, her new personal best.
Shakima Wimbley of the U.S. was third.
World and Olympic 800 champion Caster Semenya dominated and prevailed in 1:54.60, failing to better the personal best of 1:54.25 she set last month in Paris.
“It was a great race, unfortunately I did not hit the mark we wanted,” Semenya said. “We just need to be a bit patient.”
On the men’s side, double Olympic and triple world champion Christian Taylor of the United States won the triple jump at 17.86 meters.
American sprinter Noah Lyles remained unbeaten in the Diamond League over 200 meters, winning in 19.65 seconds, his new personal best and the fastest time this year.
Lyles’ time was also meet record, and he celebrated his victory with a back flip at Stade Louis II.
“It was a great race, improving the meet record,” Lyles said. “I did the same start as I did in Prefontaine and I could feel it, it gives me confidence in what I can do next. Now I’m going to the Birmingham Diamond League, and finally Zurich to hopefully get a win.”