The newly crowned 2018 Diamonds League 3,000m steeplechase Series winner, Beatrice Chepkoech from Kenya received a wild card to the World Championships due September 27 to October 6 in Doha.
Chepkeoch, who led the country’s sweep of the top fours places in the women’s event on Thursday night in Zurich, was among 16 athletes to be given wild cards to the Doha event after winning their respective events in the final.
According to the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF), 16 more athletes who will win in the last final on September 6 in Brussels will not only walk away with a $50,000 (Sh5 million) bonus each, but also earn a wild card entry to Doha event.
While all of the winners in Zurich had already qualified for the World Championships in at least one event, a wild card would, for some, pave the way to competing in another discipline in Doha or open up a fourth spot on their national team for a teammate.
That means that Kenya will now have the privilege of fielding four athletes in women’s 3,000m steeplechase team in Doha.
Wild cards are also awarded to winners of the 2017 IAAF World Championships as well as the leaders in the IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge, Race Walk Challenge and Combined Events Challenge.
If both are from the same country, only one of the two athletes can be entered as a wild card entry. The acceptance of wild cards is at the discretion of member federations.
World champions Hellen Obiri (5,000m), Elijah Manangói (1,500m), Conseslus Kipruto (3,000m steeplechase) and Faith Chepng’etich all have wild cards to the Doha event irrespective of their status.
However, Athletics Kenya president Jackson Tuwei was firm that they all must take part in the trials for the World Championships slated for September 11 to 13 at the Nyayo National Stadium.
Chepngétich, who won the women’s 1,500m race at Prefontaine Classic on June 30, her first race since September 1, 2017 when she won the Diamond League Series, was not in the women’s final in Zurich.
The race was won by World 1,5000m silver medallist Sifan Hassan from the Netherlands.
Obiri and Manangói will feature in the Brussel finals, while Kipruto doesn’t qualify.
On Thursday, Chepkoech clocked 9:01.71 to retain her Diamond League Series title, beating the 2015 World 3,000m steeplechase champion, Hyvin Kiyeng and Norah Jeruto to second and third places in 9:03.83 (SB), and 9:05.15 respectively.
The 2012 World Under-20 3,000m steeplechase champion, Daisy Jepkemei came in fourth in 9:06.66, as reigning World champion, Emma Coburn settled fifth in 9:10.01.
Commonwealth 800m champion Wycliffe Kinyamal (8th), Emmanuel Korir (4th) and Ferguson Rotich (5th) lost in their 800m final in Zurich, failing to get the wild card, as American Donavan Brazier stunned the field to win in a personal best of 1:42.70.
Nicholas Kimeli finished third in 12:59.05 and World Under-20 5,000m silver medallist Stanley Waithaka settled seventh in 13:06.29 in the men’s 5,000m race won by World Cross Country champion Joshua Cheptegei in a personal best of 12:57.41.
The winners in Zurich were:
800m: Donavan Brazier (USA)
5000m: Joshua Cheptegei (UGA)
400m hurdles: Karsten Warholm (NOR)
High jump: Andrii Protsenko (UKR)
Pole vault: Sam Kendricks (USA)
Long jump: Juan Miguel Echevarria (CUB)
Javelin: Magnus Kirt (EST)
200m: Shaunae Miller-Uibo (BAH)
400m: Salwa Eid Naser (BRN)
1500m: Sifan Hassan (NED)
3000m steeplechase: Beatrice Chepkoech (KEN)
400m hurdles: Sydney McLaughlin (USA)
Triple jump: Shanieka Ricketts (JAM)
Shot put: Gong Lijiao (CHN)
Javelin: Lyu Huihui (CHN)
Another batch of 16 wild cards will be allocated at the second IAAF Diamond League final in Brussels on 5-6 September.