Infection costs Peruth Chemutai in Oregon

Mekides Abebe of Team Ethiopia and Peruth Chemutai of Team Uganda compete in the Women’s 3000m Steeplechase heats at the Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. Chemutai was 11th in the 3,000m steeplechase final won by Kenyan-born Kazakhstani Norah Jeruto. PHOTO/AFP 

What you need to know:

  • Steeplechase. Olympic Gold medalist Peruth Chemutai initially was not going to run after suffering a bacterial infection in the stomach but was confirmed for the start-list.

Peruth Chemutai had anticipated to grip the women’s 3000m steeplechase event a bit more by adding the world title to her Olympic crown.

However, the 23-year-old’s pursuit at the Oregon World Championships ended in disappointing fashion. Chemutai finished in a distant 11th place in the final of the water-jump race won by Kenyan-born Kazakhstani Norah Jeruto.

Her time of nine minutes and 21.93 seconds was not a reflection of her stylish performance to the Olympic title last August at the Tokyo 2020 Games in Japan.

Here on the west coast, Chemutai struggled right from the Heats. “Peruth was sick since Saturday and (she was) using antibiotics,” her coach Addy Ruiter said.

This paper understands Uganda’s first female Olympic medallist Chemutai suffered a bacterial infection in the stomach.

It explains why she needed a thread of luck to make the race final after finishing sixth in Heat 2 with 9:16.66 last weekend. 

“My body is not in good shape but at the Olympics, I was in top shape,” she said in one of the interviews after that race.

This paper further notes that on the morning of the final on Wednesday here, Chemutai initially wasn’t going to run. 

“She was not okay,” noted her manager Jurrie van der Velden, who is part of Team Uganda.
Hours later, Chemutai was confirmed for the start-list. 

“But maybe as they say, the will (to compete) was greater than the might,” he added. 

Her challenge in the seven-and-a-half-lap race withered shortly after the halfway stage as she lost touch with the front trio of Jeruto, Ethiopian pairing of Werkuha Getachew and Mekides Abebe as well as Bahraini Winfred Yavi, also of Kenyan descent.

“It was clear with the result of today that she had not recovered enough,” Ruiter added. 
Championship record 

Jeruto held off the Ethiopians to win in a championship record time of 8:53.02, the fastest time in history.

Then, Getachew posted a national record of 8:54.61 for silver and Abebe scooped the bronze medal with a personal best of 8:56.08.

Meanwhile, Esther Chebet rued the tough weather and persistent pain above her left knee after bowing out 13th with 15:26.40 in the women’s 5000m Heat 2.

“The weather was almost like the one of Tokyo (Olympics, though Tokyo was a little bit hotter than here,” said Chebet, who graduated from the 1500m two years ago.

“I had some problems, I had a knee problem since August 2020. I think I trained harder and the body was ready for competition but unfortunately they postponed the Olympics.

“I believe I will do better when I’m fine. When I heal, I can do better,” she added. The women’s 5000m final comes in the early hours of Sunday with Ethiopian Letesenbet Gidey as the favourite.
Her quest will face a stern test from Olympic champion Dutch Sifan Hassan and the Kenyan trio of

world 10000m bronze medallist Margaret Chelimo,  Beatrice Chebet and Gloria Kite.
The latter would love to retain the title won by Hellen Obiri in Doha three years ago.

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)
2022 Eugene: Norah Jeruto (KAZ)