Gold in sight for Uganda's Chemutai

Peruth Chemutai during one o fthe national trials at nambole gogo Oval yesterday. The olympic gold medalist will take part in the Women’s 3000m Steeplechase Final on Thursday at 5.45am. PHOTO/ ISMAIL KEZAALA

What you need to know:

  • Onwards. Peruth Chemutai,  an Olympic 3000m steeplechase gold medalist at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics last August is among the favourites for gold at the ongoing World Athletics Championships in Oregon. 
  • Meanwhile, Winnie Nanyondo was blocked in the inside lane and couldn’t react as desired in the final stretch thereby clocking 4:01.98 eighth in the women’s 1500m final.

Peruth Chemutai stunned the world as she scripted poetry over the barriers to clinch Olympic gold at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics last August.

By becoming Uganda’s first female Olympic champion, she now carries attention like never before.

The cameras will certainly look out for her after she steps onto the Hayward Field track for the water-jump race final in the early hours of tomorrow.

She is among the favorites for gold in a field of 15 women. “I am just waiting for the final,” she said after the Heats on Saturday.

“Peruth in training is better than last year. But a few girls are running this year faster than her,” her coach Addy Ruiter stated. “A medal is possible and that would be great,” he added.

Contrary to Tokyo though, Chemutai did not have the best performance in Heat 2 where she came fifth in a time of 9:16.66 and actually needed to wait until the end of Heat 3 to confirm her slot in the final.

The 23-year-old wasn’t in the best shape and Ruiter and team were working around the clock to make her better before race time, this paper understands.

However, she has trust from her colleagues and technical set-up. By reaching the final, Chemutai has a chance to emulate Dorcus Inzikuru in case she powers to the gold over the seven-and-a-half-lap race.

At the Helsinki 2005 edition, the women’s 3000m steeplechase event debuted at the Worlds and it was Inzikuru who became the first world champion ahead of Russian Yekaterina Volkova and Kenyan Jeruto Kiptum.

Chemutai has a chance to become Uganda’s third female world champion after Inzikuru and Halimah Nakaayi but she will face her biggest test from Kenyan-turned-Kazakhstani Norah Jeruto.

The latter rhas run the fastest time in 2022 of 8:57.97. Jeruto, 26, won Heat 1 here in a time of 9:01.54 yet French girl Alice Finot posted a national record time of 9:14.34 to win Heat 2.

Heat 3 was won by Kenyan Celliphine Chespol in 9:16.78 which means Jeruto, who has beaten Chemutai all 14 times they’ve met since 2017, is in a league of her own.

Two other ladies in Ethiopian Mekides Abebe and Bahraini Winfred Yavi, also a former Kenyan, have run faster Chemutai this year.

However, championship races like this are won by tactics, which Ruiter must have furnished for the Ugandan.

Winnie Nanyondo of Team Uganda. PHOTO/AFP

Meanwhile, Winnie Nanyondo was blocked in the inside lane and couldn’t react as desired in the final stretch thereby clocking 4:01.98 eighth in the women’s 1500m final.

“First of all, I want to thank God. It is God who gave me the second chance to run the final,” Nanyondo said, reminiscing her fall after a push by Italian Gaia Sabbatini in the semi-final Heat 2 on Sunday.

“I felt my body was okay in the final 150m but there was traffic. At least I should have come sixth,” the 28-year-old explained.

Olympic champion Kenyan Faith Kipyegon received a warm hug from Nanyondo at the finish after beating the field for her second world title in 3:52.96, also Kenya’s first gold at this championship.

 Eseosa Fostine Desalu of Team Italy, Tarsis Gracious Orogot of Team Uganda, and Kenneth Bednarek of Team United States compete in the Men's 200m heats on day four of the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 at Hayward Field on July 18, 2022 in Eugene, Oregon. Orogot qualified for the semi finals after coming third in Heat 4 in 20.44 seconds. PHOTO/AFP

Then, US-based Tarsis Orogot advanced in Heat 4 with 20.44 seconds in third place behind Olympic silver medallist to advance to the men’s 200m semi-final Heats which were due this morning.

Orogot became Uganda’s first sprinter at the Worlds since Davis Kamoga won 400m silver at the Athens 1997 edition in Greece.

CAST OF WOMEN’S 3000M ST. WORLD CHAMPIONS

2005 Helsinki: Dorcus Inzikuru
 (UGA)
2007 Osaka: Yekaterina Volkova
(RUS)
2009 Berlin: Yuliya Zarudneva 
(RUS)
2011 Daegu: Habiba Ghribi 
(TUN)
2013 Moscow: Milcah Chemos 
(KEN)
2015 Beijing: Hyvin Jepkemoi 
(KEN)
2017 London: Emma Coburn 
(USA)
2019 Doha: Beatrice Chepkoech
 (KEN)

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