Chespol has eyes on Doha World Championships medal

Monday, September 23rd, 2019 00:00 |
Fancy Cherono (bronze), Beatrice Chepkoech (gold) and Celliphine Chespol (silver) after a steeplechase clean sweep at the 2018 Africa Athletics Championships in Asaba, Nigeria. The three will be joined by Hyvin Kiyeng at the Doha Worlds. Photo/PD/JAMES MAGAYI

Celliphine Chespol does not for once feel intimidated by the steeplechase golden generation tagged on her, world record holder Beatrice Chepkoech and Hyvin Kiyeng.

Instead, the 20-year-old, the first woman to win back-to-back World Under-20 titles in steeplechase, sees that as an opportunity to improve herself.

She will head to the September 27 to October 6 World Championships in Doha, Qatar, knowing she has the third fastest time in history behind Chepkoech and embattled Kenyan-turned Bahraini Ruth Jebet.

Her time of 8:58.78 during the 2017 IAAF Diamond League meeting in Eugene, Oregon, United States, remains her personal best to date.

“I want to keep working hard knowing there is a very strong Kenyan team presently.

They motivate me to become a better athlete,” said Chespol, who at 16, won the IAAF World U18 Championships in Cali, Colombia in 2015.

“I am patient with my running. I prefer to run from behind and monitor the athletes ahead of me.

That helps me in making the right decision later in the race,” added Chespol, who first won the World U20 Championships Bydgoszcz, Poland in 2016 before defending the title in Tampere, Finland last year.

“I have tried to run from the front previously but it does not go well most of the time as I tend to burn out. I have learnt to be patient and strike when it matters most because I think my finishing kick is strong,” said the Mt. Elgon-born athlete.

Her running was perhaps polished at the infamous Nairobi’s Riruta Central School, a renowned institution in athletics.

“There are so many athletes who have gone through that school including World 5,000m champion Hellen Obiri.

The school made me a better athlete,” said Chespol, who won bronze in the U20 women’s race at the 2017 IAAF World Cross-Country Championships Kampala, Uganda.

Chespol will head to Doha hoping to improve on her sixth place finish in London two years ago and with Chepkoech, Kiyeng and junior Fancy Cherono in the squad, she is upbeat of a good medal harvest. 

“I have matured since the previous edition. I know my time is coming and that is why I am not worried.

However, whoever wins in Doha from the Kenyan team, it will be fine with me. I am just hoping teamwork prevails,” she added.

More on News