The 2021 World Under-20 3,000 steeplechase gold medallist Jackline Chepkoech is the new Commonwealth Games 3,000m steeplechase champion.
The youngster helped Kenya reclaim the title when she won in a Championship Record time of nine minutes and 15.68 seconds on Friday at the Alexander Stadium.
Chepkoech led at the bell in 8:01.01 before cruising to victory beating Briton Elizabeth Bird and Uganda’s Olympic champion Peruth Chemutai to second and third places in 9:17.79 and 9:23.24 respectively.
It was Kenya’s second gold at the 2022 Commonwealth Games after Ferdinand Omanyala’s victory in men’s 100m on Wednesday.
Kenya now had nine medals; two gold, three silver and four bronze. All medals are from athletics except Hellen Wawira’s bronze in para powerlifting.
It was a two-horse race with Chemutai and Chepkoech exchanging leads before the Kenyan asserted her presence to swing to the lead with two laps to go.
It’s at the back straight when Chemutai tumbled at the barrier to fall, which gave Chepkoech room to extend her lead hitting the bell in 8:01.01 to triumph.
She becomes the third Kenyan woman to win steeplechase the the “Club Games” after Milcah Chemos in 2010 Delhi and Purity Kirui in 2014 Glasgow.
Bird would cruise past Chemutai just before the last water jump to snatch the silver medal as the Ugandan settled for bronze.
“I was so confident of victory. My plan was to take off with two laps to go and beat Chemutai. She wouldn’t have beaten me even without the fall but I am sorry for her,” said Chepkoech, who dedicated his victory to her parents Wilson Chepkes and Juliana back in Olenguruone, Nakuru County.
“They have given me all the support and time to train and that gave me the peace of mind to concentrate on training,” explained the 18-year-old. “It feels good after the World Championships disappointment.”
Chepkoach also thanked her coaches Patrick Sang and Richard Metto for their good guidance and support alongside top Global Sports Management athletes like the Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge, Olympic and world 1,500m champion Faith Chepng’etich and Geoffrey Kamworor.
“Above all, I wouldn’t have achieved this without God. I thank Him for His grace and for good health,” said Chepkoech.
Chepkoech was also quick to congratulated Faith Cherotich, who had just won the World Under-20 3,000m steeplechase title in Cali, Colombia on Friday.
Cherotich had settled for bronze when Chepkoech won gold during the World Under 20 Athletics Championships last year in Nairobi.
Chepkoech said the victory now gives her confidence ahead of the World Athletics Championships programed for Budapest, Hungary next year.