Chepkoech, Kibiwott glide to victory at Kip Keino Classic
Chief athletics writer at Nyayo
World 3000m steeplechase champion Beatrice Chepkoech and Abraham Kibiwott notched convincing victories in the women’s and men’s steeplechase races respectively at the Kip Keino Classic Continental Tour on Saturday.
Chepkoech clocked 9:29.05 to edge the 2015 world champion Hyvin Kiyeng who settled for the second spot in 9:34.07
The pair was renewing rivalry just weeks after clashing in Doha Diamond League where Chepkoech had finished second while Kiyeng was fourth in the ,3000m race won by world 5,000m champion Hellen Obiri.
Prior to the Doha extravaganza, Chepkoech and Kiyeng had also met at the ISTAF Berlin Continental Tour meet where Kiyeng toppled Chepkoech for a win.
“It was my last race of the season and I am so grateful to have won at home. I have had mixed results since the start of the season in Monaco and there could be no better way to end the season than to win at home,” said Chepkoech.
Similarly, Chepkoech, the world record holder over the distance lauded the Kip Keino Classic event.
“It is beautiful that we can now say that we have our own event here in Kenya. It is unbelievable,” observed Chepkoech.
In the corresponding men’s race, Abraham Kibiwott battled and reigned supreme over the World Under-20 silver medallist Leonard as the Olympic and world champion Conseslus Kipruto skipped the meet.
Kibiwott said he was eager to make a competitive return since the 2019 World Championships in Doha, Qatar.
“It was my first race of the season and I really appreciate the organisers for giving me an opportunity to compete at home. For sure, I was not expecting to win because I had a very strong challenge from the likes of Bett and (Benjamin) Kigen.
On his part, Bett who was leading for the better part of the race rued poor finishing for his second place-finish.
“ I think I did my best only that sometimes the body does not respond but that is normal. I am now focusing on the upcoming cross country for build ups towards next season,” said Bett.