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Kiyeng keen on turning tables on Olympic Champion Chemutai

By , People Daily Digital
Saturday, September 18th, 2021 00:00 | 2 mins read
Gold medallist Uganda’s Peruth Chemutai and bronze medallist Kenya’s Hyvin Kiyeng celebrate after the women’s 3000m steeplechase final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on August 4, 2021. Photo/AFP

Olympic bronze medalist Hyvin Kiyeng has hatched a plan to turn the tables on Olympic champion Peruth Chemutai of Uganda in the women’s 3,000m steeplechase at Saturday’s Kip Keino Classic.

Kiyeng finished third in 9:05.39 at the Tokyo Olympics, behind Chemutai (9:01.45) and American Courtney Friedrich (9:04.79).

The Ugandan’s gold medal was the first by a female athlete in the country’s Olympic history and will be seeking another feather on her cap.

For Kiyeng, Tokyo was a disappointment after clinching silver at the previous edition in Rio in 2016 and it is time to make amends on home soil.

On various occasions this year, she had set an Olympic gold as her bare minimum and must have been disappointed to see this dream evaporate as Chemutai crossed the finish line first.

“This probably might be my final race in steeplechase because I am transition to road races.

I want to end high being at home while also recovering from failing to win gold in Tokyo,” said Kiyeng.

Another Kenyan who will be hoping to exorcise the ghosts of Tokyo is 2014 Commonwealth champion Purity Kirui, who fell at the first time of asking in Heat 1 of the water-and-barrier race.

Kirui finished a disappointing fifth in 9:30.13 for an early exit from the championships, leaving world record holder Beatrice Chepkoech and Kiyeng to carry the Kenyan flag.

Also hoping to make a huge splash in the race is World Under 20 champion Jackline Chepkoech, whose win at Moi Stadium, Kasarani in August extended the country’s dominance in women’s steeplechase at the junior level.

The battle in the women’s division mirrors that of men where Kenyans will be seeking revenge on Olympic champion Soufiane El Bakkali.

The Moroccan went down in history as the first man to break Kenya’s 53-year dominance in the men’s steeplechase when he clinched gold at the Tokyo Olympics.

However, he was quick to downplay the significance of competing on Kenyan soil, insisting he was simply looking forward to enjoying himself on his first visit to the country. “This meeting is the perfect way to close out a busy year.