Nairobi — Hyvin Kiyeng finished third to clinch bronze in the women’s steeplechase on Wednesday as Kenya earned its third medal at the Tokyo Olympic Games.
The Kenyan clocked 9:05.39 in third with Uganda’s Peruth Chemutai winning gold after a spirited last 300m to topple America’s Courtney Frerichs who had led for the last two laps, only to finish second.
World Record holder Beatrice Chepkoech faded away with three laps to go and could only manage a seventh place finish in 9:16.33.
Chepkoech who after the semis admitted that she has been battling injury for most of the season, looked to banish the ghosts of 2016 as she stuck to the front for most of the race. Kiyeng, the 2015 World Champion was holding on just inside the leading pack.
But with three laps to go, the world record holder began fading away, clearly her injury nagging her once again.
American Frierichs then took on a brave move, pushing up the pace to open a 10-metre gap between her and the chasing pack.
But, she could not hold on for long. At the bell, Uganda’s Chemutai responded, chasing her down as she slowly closed down the gap. In the final 200m, the Ugandan galloped away into the lead and created a good distance between first and second.
Behind, Kiyeng was battling to get into the medal brackets and she ultimately did at the last water hurdle, going past Ethiopian Mekides Abebe.
The Kenyan maintained the same pace to clinch bronze as Uganda and USA celebrated away with gold and silver.
Chemutai clocked a new Ugandan record of 9:01.45 while the Ugandan who managed second stopped the timer in a season’s best time of 9:04.79.