Peruth Chemutai clocked a personal best time of 9:31.34 in the 3000 Metres Steeplechase at the Shanghai IAAF Diamond League race today to qualify for the Rio Olympics.
Chemutai finished 10th in the sixth fastest women’s steeplechase race of all time, becoming just the third Ugandan woman to qualify for the Rio track and field events. The race was won by Kenyan world champion Hyvin Kiyeng, who won in a glorious 9:07.42.
Chemutai’s time was 15 seconds into the Olympic qualifying time of 9:45.00 on a great day for Uganda in Shanghai, with Joshua Cheptegei, who had already qualified in the 10000m, running a personal best of 13:00.60 in finishing 2nd in the men’s 5000m. (see video below)
The Ugandan is clearly walking in the shoes of Dorcus Inzikuru who won the first World Championship SteepleChase race in 2005. Like Inzikuru, Chemutai first made her mark at junior level, making history in the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa by winning two silver medals.
The other women who have hit the mark are Juliet Chekwel who qualified in the 10,000 metres last month in a national record time of 31:37.99 and marathoner Adero Nyakesi (2:34:54 in Amsterdam Oct 2015).
Cheptegei beaten in last 100 metres
A storming last 200m for the unfancied former world champion Muktar Edris helped him win a five-man last lap bust-up in the 5000m race.
Former world junior champion Muktar exploded off the final bend to pull clear of two fellow Ethiopians, Uganda’s Cheptegei and Kenyan Olympic medalist Thomas Longosiwa in the second stop of the IAAF Diamond League.
Muktar crossed the line in 12:59.96 to claim the Shanghai meeting’s first ever sub-13 minute, as Cheptegei took second in 13:00.60 – a huge personal best for the Uganda world junior 10,000m champion.
“The pace was slow at the beginning, but end very good. I like to have the battle with the Ethiopians. Improved my personal best with a half minute. You know, you have to focus and I have to work on my speed. This was a good race, but I believe I can still improve,” said Uganda’s Cheptegei.