Eugene victory reignites Chemutai

Chemutai crosses the line in Eugene. PHOTOS/REUTERS 

What you need to know:

Massive Bounce-back. Since winning her Olympic title three years ago, Peruth Chemutai endured several below-par performances, rarely showing in 3000m steeplechase race finals of the 2022 Oregon and 2023 Budapest World Championships in USA and Hungary respectively. 

Finally, the lights are back on for Peruth Chemutai. And that’s right to say after the Ugandan elite runner produced a vital performance by winning the women’s 3000m steeplechase race during the Wanda Diamond League (DL) leg in Oregon State of the USA at the weekend. 

Chemutai delivered a relentless run, outclassing familiar challenger and world record holder Kenyan Beatrice Chepkoech in the home stretch, thereby winning in a time of eight minutes and 55.09 seconds at the Hayward Field in Eugene.  

The performance marked a new world lead time, a new Ugandan national record (NR) and a personal best (PB) for Chemutai. 

“Good,” an overwhelmingly delighted Chemutai told this paper in a brief chat yesterday. Since winning the steeplechase Olympic title, Chemutai has struggled physically and mentally over the past three years. 

That powerful win in Japanese capital Tokyo merely seemed like a fluke, subsequent performances rarely showing the gem that Chemutai is over the barriers. 

Chemutai can now focus on Paris 2024. 

In Tokyo, she became the first-ever female Olympic champion with a NR time of 9:01.45. A spate of injuries and illness littered her story in 2022 and last year. To underline that, Chemutai broke the sub-9:10 minute barrier only once in 17 races since the Tokyo prowess. 

“After Tokyo, (this is) her best race ever,” Chemutai’s coach Addy Ruiter told this paper. “I told her last week that I expected more motivation in the race. She did. Time enough to improve the steeple technique because that's still necessary,” the Dutch man added. 

Chemutai began the 2024 season early enough, winning a silver at the African Games in Ghanaian capital Accra two months ago but she has been in Chepkoech’s shadow in all her three races of the year until Eugene. 

On the west coast, Chemutai didn’t bow down. “I struggle for under nine (minutes) but today, I run 8:55. I'm so happy,” she reacted in the Eugene mixed zone, reminding the world that her goal is to retain her Olympic title in the French capital come August. 

“The track is nice, the people are cheering. I'm going back to train for Paris (Olympics) because I need to defend my title in Paris. It's my biggest thing to defend my title,” the 24-year-old added.  

Chepkoech and Chemutai had met 17 times prior over the seven-and-a-half-lap race, the former winning on 16 occasions. 

The pair broke away at a terrific speed way early, Chepkoech crossing the 1km and 2km marks with clock reading 2:51.22 and 5:55.96. 

They slightly increased their gap over the rest of the field with 1000m left. Chemutai came out in lane 2 and began to check Chepkoech, in quest for the lead. 

The move seemed to fail twice but when the final barrier came, the Ugandan kicked and gained the lead, smiling and sending a flying kiss to the pavilion on her right before crossing the tape in the sixth fastest time ever. 

Both Chemutai and Ruiter know there is work to be done before Paris. Meanwhile, Sarah Chelangat had earlier broken the NR over the 10000m, previously held by Stella Chesang at 31:01.04 from 2022, to 30:24.04 when she finished ninth. 

That 25-lap race was won by Kenyan Beatrice Chebet who posted a new world record mark of 28:54.14, the first sub-29:00 min in history.

Halimah Nakaayi struggled for space in the final turn and thereby cost her three positions and time before finishing fifth in the women’s 800m with a time of 1:58.18. 

Great Britain’s Keely Hodgkinson produced a stunning kick to win her first two-lap race of the year in a WL time of 1:55.78. 




1 Keely Hodgkinson (GBR) 1:55.78 

2 Mary Moraa (KEN) 1:56.71 

3 Jemma Reekie (GBR) 1:57.45 

4 Nia Akins (USA) 1:57.98 

5 Halimah Nakaayi (UGA) 1:58.18


1 Peruth Chemutai (UGA) 8:55.09 

2 Beatrice Chepkoech (KEN) 8:56.51 

3 Faith Cherotich (KEN) 9:04.45 

WOMEN’S 10000M 

1 Beatrice Chebet (KEN) 28:54.14 

2 Gudaf Tsegay (ETH) 29:05.92 

3 Lilian Rengeruk (KEN) 29:26.89 

9 Sarah Chelangat (UGA) 30:24.04 


Date of Birth: Jul 10, 1999 

Major Event: 3000m steeplechase 

Personal Best: 8:55.09 

Coach: Addy Ruiter 

Manager: Jurrie van der Velden 

Worlds Appearances: DNF (Budapest 2023), 11th (Oregon 2022), 5th (Doha 2019), 8th Heat 3 (London 2017) 

Major Honours: 2023 Accra African Games (Silver), Tokyo 2020 Olympics (Gold), Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games (Bronze), 2018 World U20 Championships (Silver), 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games (1500m Silver & 3000m Silver)