Commonwealth Games: Lone ranger Chepkoech strikes steeple Gold in new record time

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 5 – Jackline Chepkoech tore the field apart as she clinched Kenya’s second gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, clocking a new Games Record time of 9:15.68 to clinch the women’s steeplechase title on Friday night.

Chepkoech, the 2021 World Under-20 Champion was Kenya’s lone representative in the race after injury barred Celiphine Chespol from competing and she did justice to the flag, throwing down a dominant display to earn her first senior victory.

The Kenyan had been running side by side with Olympic champion Peruth Chemutai exchanging leads, but the latter’s unfortunate trip and fall off a barrier in the penultimate lap was a blessing in disguise for the Kenyan as she earned more ground on her lead.

Kenya’s Jackline Chepkoech and Uganda’s Olympic Champion Peruth Chemutai clear a hurdle during the final of the Commonwealth Games. PHOTO/Kelly Ayodi

Chemutai was a spent force heading in to the home stretch and this allowed home-girl Elizabeth Bird to sprint beyond her for silver in a personal best time of 9:17.79 while the Ugandan earned bronze, clocking 9:23.24.

The injury from the fall saw her taken out of the track on a wheelchair after laboring to finish for a medal.

In the race, Chepkoech must have watched the successor of her Under-20 title Faith Cherotich on Thursday night in Cali, Colombia, as she tore her page off her tactic book.

Just like the 17-year old Cherotich did, Chepkoech blazed away to a sizeable lead straight from the gun with Uganda’s Chemutai running along.

Kenya’s Jackline Chepkoech storms to victory at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, United Kingdom. PHOTO/Kelly Ayodi

The two ran side by side for most of the race until the penultimate lap when the Ugandan fell off.

Chepkoech used the opportunity to press harder on the gas pedals to cross the finish line in a new record time.

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