Kazakhstan’s Norah Jeruto blitzed the women’s 3,000 metres steeplechase heats at the World Championships on Saturday, an event left wide open after reigning champion and world record-holder Beatrice Chepkoech pulled out with injury.
The 2021 Diamond League winner Jeruto, who previously represented Kenya, comfortably strode across the finish to produce the fastest time of the day by more than nine seconds.
Olympic champion Peruth Chemutai of Uganda set a fast pace at the start of her heat and held a razor-thin lead at the 1,500 metres mark but fizzled out in the back half, missing automatic qualifying but reaching Wednesday’s final by virtue of her time.
Home hopes Emma Coburn and Courtney Frerichs, who collected silver in 2019 and 2017 respectively, qualified on time with compatriot Courtney Wayment to roars of approval from the crowd at Hayward Field.
“I knew we were going to start fast and that’s definitely the fastest I’ve started on steeple this year,” said Coburn. “I think it took a second for my body to recalibrate to that fast first kilometre.”