Women's 3,000 meter Steeplechase - Daegu Preview
Provided by IAAF
Milcah Chemos Cheywa will start a clear favourite in her quest to become the first Kenyan winner of this title. The African and Commonwealth champion has completely dominated this year and boasts a 100 per cent record in the 3000m Steeplechase.
The 25-year-old has looked imperious over the barriers this season winning Samsung Diamond League meets in Doha, Rome, New York, Lausanne and London as well as snaring her national title.
The 2009 World bronze medallist also boasts the world lead time of 9:12.89 (achieved in Rome) and she will be confident she can step two rungs up the podium in Daegu.
Kenyan strength in depth in this event is further illustrated by the fact Cheywa will be joined on the team by Mercy Njoroge. The 25-year-old ran a personal best of 9:16.94 in Doha and finished third at her national championships and is another medal contender.
The three-pronged Kenyan assault is complete by Lydia Rotich (9:19.20), the runner-up at the national championships. The 22-year-old has performed consistently well all year, posting her season’s best time when third in Doha.
Sofia Assefa of Ethiopia would appear to present the main threat to the Kenyans. The 23-year-old set a national record of 9:15.04 in Rome and showed her ability to win big races on the circuit by taking victory in the Samsung Diamond League meeting in Birmingham.
Her compatriot Birtukan Adamu, aged just 19, also looks a prodigious talent. The 2010 World Junior silver medallist set a World junior record mark of 9:20.37 and she too will have to be watched. Hiwot Ayalew a third Ethiopian ran a personal best of 9:23.88 for second in London and the 21-year-old could also challenge.
Russia boasts a formidable record in this event and such is their strength in depth they could even afford not to select Olympic champion and World record holder Gulnara Gulkina, who finished down in fourth at her national championships.
Leading their challenge will be Yuliya Zarudneva, the European champion, who has the ability to compete with the very best. The 2009 World silver medallist also landed victory in the IAAF/VTB Bank Continental Cup in Split last year and although she has competed sparingly this season –she landed the Russian title in 9:23.82 in her one steeplechase appearance – she should not be discounted.
Alongside her on the Russian team will be Lyubov Kharlamova (9:29.39), the European bronze medallist, who also has the ability to threaten.
Tunisia’s Habiba Ghribi is another with high expectations. She finished sixth at the 2009 World Championships and top four finishes in both Rome and Lausanne, the former in a swift 9:20.33 mark her out as one to watch.
Elsewhere, the versatile Sara Moreira is also entered and will hope to perform with distinction. The Portuguese athlete also enjoys competing in cross country and on the road and showed her versatility by landed the European 5000m bronze in Barcelona last year. She ran a season’s best 9:35.11 to finish second at the European Team Championships so will hope to be competitive.
Korene Hinds, the fourth place finisher at the 2005 Championships, may not quite be in that kind of form but the Jamaican who ran 9:38.07 season’s best in Gent will have aspirations on reaching at least the final.
Also entered are Great Britain’s Barbara Parker (9:35.46) and Ireland Fionnuala Britton (9:37.60), the 2007 World finalist, who will hope to make an impact.
Steve Landells for the IAAF