Tokyo — World champion Beatrice Chepkoech says her heat performance in the 3000m Steeplechase Tokyo 2020 Olympics was quite a tormenting experience given the pain inflamed by an Achilles Tendon injury.
Chepkoech, the world record holder over the distance (8:44.32), qualified third in heat two clocking, (9:19.82) ahead of the much-anticipated final on Wednesday here at the Olympics Stadium in Tokyo.
Also, in the final alongside Chepkoech is Olympic silver medalist Hyvin Kiyeng, who took victory in heat three in a time of 9:23.17.
However, Purity Kirui failed in her bid to make it into the 3000m Steeplechase final thus erasing hopes of a Kenyan clean-sweep.
Chepkoech nevertheless promised that she will soldier on despite her injury situation.
"The race was good but the searing heat proved quite a challenge. The essence for me was to qualify for the finals then pick it up from there. As you can see, I'm struggling with tendon injury. It's really painful as it's the first time to suffer a tendon injury this year. What is remaining now is to go for the podium on Wednesday. It is never easy though," explained Chepkoech."
"With my current state of my injuries I cannot predict anything for now. But I will fight to the very end."
Kiyeng on her part said her body feels good despite high temperatures with today's punishing weather rising up to 40 degrees.
"The last heat was all good at least I was able to control it so I went on smoothly. Right now, the focus is on the speed-work in final. We will have to attack till the last gong because the best of the best will be all be in one race," said Kiyeng.
Kiyeng, the 2015 World Champion added that they will run as a team with Chepkoech at least to get good results.
"After the heats I will sit down with Beatrice (Chepkoech) and try to strategize on the final race then see how it goes. But it's not an easy task as everyone wants the same medals. We happy for Purity, though she was unable.to make it into the finals."
"It's an unpredictable race as always. In 2017 the lady won was little known yet she sprung the surprise. We will not underate anyone. It will be a matter of running with strategy and focus," the seasoned Kiyeng said.
He added, "This Olympics in Tokyo has been really challenging but then again COVID-19 affected the whole world so we are just trying to survive in the conditions. We were compelled to practice individually and sometimes went running in the forests."
Kenya will be looking to win the women's gold for the first time in the race that was introduced in 2008 at the Beijing Olympics.