Virginia Nyambura now a hot property after stunning victory

Virginia Nyambura of Kenya reacts after winning the 3,000m women’s steeplechase race at the Diamond League athletics meeting at the Suhaim bin Hamad Stadium in Doha on May 15, 2015. PHOTO | KARIM JAAFAR |

What you need to know:

  • Future looks bright for young athlete.
  • She will no longer be used as a pacesetter after surprise win in Doha, says ecstatic coach.

Virginia Nyambura has dumped the “rabbit” tag after her stunning women’s 3,000m steeplechase victory in Doha, the opening leg of the Diamond League, on Friday.

Nyambura, the 2010 Youth Olympics 2,000m steeplechase gold medallist, will not be used as pacesetter at Diamond League events anymore.

Nyambura’s coach, Alex Sang, disclosed on Monday that the athlete has now been given direct invites to Rome on June 4 and New York on June 13 after her winning time of  9 minutes 21.51 seconds changed the whole landscape.

In fact, besides Rome and New York, Nyambura — who turns 23 on July 20 — will also compete in Birmingham on June 7.

Nyambura’s victory also put her in line for the World Championships due August 22-30 in Beijing after she attained the qualifying time of 9:44.00.

“It’s all about hard work, commitment and gaining that self-belief and confidence in training for Nyambura,” said Sang, who picked Nyambura from Athletics Kenya weekend meeting in Thika in 2013.

Sang said Nyambura ran so well that he approached her to paceset for World Champion Milcah Chemos after Lydia Chepkurui, the World silver medallist, had graduated.

“After Chemos sustained a back injury after the World Championships in Moscow top stay off for long, I thought it wise to start fine-tuning Nyambura to the big stage,” said Sang, adding that Nyambura started well at the National Relay Series trials for the World Relays in Bahamas.

Nyambura, running the 1,600m part, anchored Kenya women’s team to silver in the medley race in an African record time of 10:43.35.

Her team had Selah Jepleting (1,200m), Joy Nakhumicha Sakari (400m) and Sylivia Chesebe (800m).

“For sure she is now ripe after winning silver in medley. I am sure she can run a sub 9:12 in Rome and that will be great,” said Sang.

“It’s one of those days you just can’t explain well how you feel after such an achievement,” said Nyambura in a telephone interview.

“I was to drop at the 2,000m mark but I felt strong to continue the race. I had that feeling that I could make the World Championships time in the last 1,000m.”

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