Chepkoech, Coburn lead Pre Classic steeplechase

World record-holder Beatrice Chepkoech will take on world champion Emma Coburn in the steeplechase at the Prefontaine Classic, part of the IAAF Diamond League series, in Stanford on 30 June. It won’t be just a two-woman contest, though, as the field features six of the eight fastest women in history. Chepkoech destroyed the world record in Monaco last year with 8:44.32 before going on to win the IAAF Diamond League title. Having finished fourth at the 2016 Olympics and 2017 World Championships, the Kenyan won the African title last year. More recently she finished seventh at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships. Coburn won gold at the 2017 World Championships with a championship record of 9:02.58 with US teammate Courtney Frerichs taking silver. Coburn’s time was a North American record until it was broken by Frerichs last year with 9:00.85. Hyvin Kiyeng followed her 2015 world title with Olympic silver in 2016 and world bronze in 2017. The Kenyan set her lifetime best of 9:00.01 at the 2016 Prefontaine Classic. Fellow Kenyans Celliphine Chespol, Norah Jeruto and Daisy Jepkemei are also in the field. Chespol won the 2017 Pre Classic in a world U20 record of 8:58.78 and went on to win the world U20 title one year later. Jeruto, the 2016 African champion, was runner-up to Chepkoech in last year’s IAAF Diamond League final, while 2012 world U20 champion Daisy Jepkemei set a PB of 9:10.71 last year. Uganda’s Peruth Chemutai and Bahrain’s Winfred Mutile Yavi took silver and bronze behind Chespol at last year’s World U20 Championships. Chemutai was fifth in the senior women’s race at the World Cross Country Championships in March, while Yavi won a steeplechase and 5000m double at the recent Asian Championships in Doha. The field also includes 2015 world bronze medallist Gesa-Felicitas Krause, US Olympian Colleen Quigley and Asian silver medallist Xu Shuangshuang of China.

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