Fit again steeplechase champ Chespol eager for action

Friday, July 24th, 2020 00:00 |
World Under-20 3,000m steeplechase champion Celliphine Chespol. Photo/PD/FILE

World Under-20 3,000m steeplechase champion Celliphine Chespol says she is ready to return to track after being out for a while due to a tendon injury.

The 21-year-old sustained the injury in the 3,000m steeplechase final during the 2019 World Championships in Doha, Qatar, which saw her fail to finish the race.

The injury would see the Kenya Prisons Service officer miss the start of the season and she had to relinquish her Kenya Prisons Cross Country Championships title having failed to take part in the competition.

With the advice of doctors, the athlete decided to take it slow and avoid courses which could have aggregated the injury.

“At the time I was worried about my fitness levels because we didn’t have a lot of time before the Tokyo Olympics trials.

I was worried that I was going to miss out all the same,” Chespol told People Daily Sport.

“My sentiments should not mean I am selfish in any way. Postponing the Games to 2021 is good from my end.

With my tendon fully healed, I can’t wait to get back to the track and compete,” added the athlete who also missed the national cross country championships in February.

As a result of the government ban on gatherings, including sporting activities, to combat the spread of Covid-19 pandemic, Chespol says she has used the opportunity to train mostly on her own which has not been easy but rewarding.

“There is hope we shall be able to compete again soon. It is promising that the government is working on a plan on the resumption of sports across the country,” added Chespol who finished sixth during the 2017 world championships held in London when she was just 18.

Chespol, who has twice teamed up with world record holder Beatrice Chepkoech and former champion Hyvin Kiyeng and once with upcoming athlete Fancy Cherono at the world championships, says the future of steeplechase in the country remains promising despite the water and hurdles event being struck off the Diamond League series.

“Having twice failed to perform well at the worlds, the next Olympics will be very important for me because I want to go a step further and win something meaningful,” said Chespol.

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