Kenyans dominate Doha Diamond League
Kenyans dominated the middle-distance races at the Doha Diamond League meeting on Friday night when athletes competed without a crowd due to COVID-19 restrictions, although music from the loudspeakers provided some atmosphere.
Men’s 1,500m world and three-time Diamond League champion Timothy Cheruiyot ran a patient race to win in a world leading time of 3:30.48 to kick-start his season.
In the women’s 800m, Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon nudged through on the inside to secure an impressive win in a time of 1:58.26 for the 1,500m Olympic champion and world silver medallist.
“I did my personal best here in Doha, so it’s really, really great to be here,” Kipyegon said. “I am training so hard and hoping to do my best, so I am putting all my mind on it. The pandemic wasn’t easy but we always try to be great.”
Another Kenyan, 21-year-old Beatrice Chebet, won the 3,000m with a world leading time of 8:27.49 sprinting ahead of Hellen Obiri, the twice world 5,000m champion, who faded towards the end of the race and finished a disappointing fourth.
“It’s my first time winning in the Diamond League and here in Doha,” Chebet said. “I didn’t expect to win. I did well today and now I am preparing for the Olympics.”
Chebet said she hoped to run the 5,000m in Tokyo.
Commonwealth 800m champion Wycliffe Kinyamal clocked 1:43.91 to win the two-lap race edging world 800m bronze medallist Ferguson Rotich who placed second in 1:44.45
Norah Jeruto was the surprise winner in the women’s 3,000m steeplechase race after crossing the finish line in 9:00.67 to stun former world champions Hyvin Kiyeng and Emma Coburn who placed fourth and fifth respectively.
Kenyan-born Winfred Mutile was third in 9:02.64
Additional information by Gilbert Kiprotich