NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 13 – Reigning world champion Hyvin Kiyeng laid down a marker for her first Olympic title as she stormed to women’s 3000m final at the Rio games on Saturday.
Kiyeng, the Commonwealth Games title holder, will be joined by compatriots Beatrice Chepkoech and Lydia Rotich as they seek to challenge Kenyan-born Ruth Jebet of Bahrain for a podium finish when the final will be held on Monday.
Kiyeng, who took charge of the race at the bell, comfortably cruised to victory in heat 3, winning in 9:24.61 ahead of Australian Genevieve Lacaze (9:26.25) while American Courtney Frerichs snatched the last automatic slot in 9:27.02.
Canadian Genevieve Lalonde also booked a place in the final as one of the fastest losers.
The opening heat saw Jebet tore the track when she ran all alone to set the fasted time of the three qualifiers, winning in 9:12.62, way ahead of Ethiopian Assefa Sofia who returned 9:18.75 as German Krause Gesa held on to clinch the automatic third position in 9:19.70.
Kenyan Lydia Rotich finished fifth in 9:30.2, but she benefited from the quickest race to progress through.
Chepkoech dominated the second heat after managing to pull through from the back in the final lap to overtake American Emma Coburn to win in 9:17.55, which was the second fastest race.
Coburn settled for second in 9:18.12 while Tunisian Habiba Ghribi sailed through after finishing third in 9:18.71.
India’s Lalita Shivaji and American Colleen Quigley complete the final list after qualifying as fastest losers.