Celliphine Chepteek Chespol in the 3000m steeplechase at the IAAF World U20 Championships Bydgoszcz 2016 (© Getty Images)
Caroline Chepteek Chespol played a conspicuous game for the first kilometre of the 3000m steeplechase final but the 17-year-old soon made her presence felt with a blistering injection of pace with five laps remaining.
The first kilometre was covered in a steady 3:13.26 but the world U18 2000m steeplechase champion turned the final into a race of attrition, blitzing through the two kilometre checkpoint in 6:16.25. Her second kilometre split of 3:02.99 would have been fast even for a senior final.
Born in 1999, Chespol is still in the U18 ranks but the Kenyan was on pace at this point to challenge the world U20 record which stands to Birtukan Adamu at 9:20.37. Five laps of hard running ultimately took it out of Chespol’s legs but her winning time of 9:25.15 was still a noteworthy one.
Not only was it a championship record, her winning mark is also a world U18 best. Adamu’s mark must also be in her compass if she is invited to compete in the remaining IAAF Diamond League meetings on the calendar.
And even if she calls it a season after Bydgoszcz, Chespol has two full seasons left in the U20 ranks to secure the record. However, her main goal for next year is to claim a third world title in as many seasons.
“My aim for next year is to go to the World Cross Country Championships,” said Chespol.
Bahrain’s Tigist Getnet covered Chespol’s break but soon dropped off the pace to finish second in 9:34.08 while Ethiopia’s Agrie Belachew moved through the field over the last two laps to claim a well-judged bronze in 9:37.17 on her international debut.
The top eight finishers all broke the 10-minute mark including Charlotte Prouse from Canada, who finished sixth in a North American U20 record of 9:44.62.
Steven Mills for the IAAF