Nairobi — Just like in the men's race, Kenya will have two representatives in the final of the women's steeplechase at the Olympic Games with world record holder Beatrice Chepkoech and 2015 World Champion Hyvin Kiyeng going through the heats on Sunday.
Kenya's third representative at the Games, Purity Kirui failed to make it to the final after finishing fifth in her heat.
Kiyeng won Heat Three in a time of 9:23.17 while Chepkoech was third in her heat, though she ran faster than Kiyeng, clocking 9:19.82.
Kiyeng controlled her race, sticking to the front from gun to tape. At the last water hurdle, she was in the lead in a group of five, all who looked ken to clinch one of the top three automatic qualifying slots.
She however proved to be the stronger of the five, holding on to the front to end up victorious ahead of Slovakia's Marusa Mismas-Zrimsek. Ethiopia's Mekides Abebe was third in a time of 9:23.95.
The heat was mong the quickest with the fourth and fifth placed Victoria Constien of the USA and Great Britain's Elizabeth Bird earning non automatic qualification.
Meanwhile, Chepkoech had to put in a dash in the final 30m to ensure she was among the top three finishers in Heat Two.
The World record holder had remained in the lead for most of the race, though occasionally dropping a place or two. At the bell, American Courtney Frierichs pushed up the pace, bolting away and opening up a 10m gap between her and Chepkoech.
She didn't look as though she would step down the gas and crossed the finish line first in 9:19.34. German Felicitas Krause was second in 9:19.62 having pulled away from Chepkoech after the last hurdle.
The Kenyan however managed to surge in for the top three just ahead of Zerfe Wondemagegn of Ethiopia and Luiza Gega of Albania both of who earned non-automatic qualification.