Bahraini Athlete Winfred Yavi Wins Athletics World Title

Bahrain’s Winfred Yavi was last night crowned world champion of the women’s 3,000 metres steeplechase.

The 23-year-old elite Bahraini athlete claimed her maiden world title in style, winning the event’s final—while clocking the fastest time of the year, the fifth-fastest performance of all time, and a new personal best—on the concluding night of action at the World Athletics Championships 2023 in Budapest.

Winfred put on a scintillating run in last night’s star-studded race and built a comfortable gap from the rest of the field as she powered down the home straight all alone.

With her victory, Winfred came away with Bahrain’s only medal at this year’s athletics worlds, and the Kingdom’s eighth gold medal in the history of the prestigious meeting.

She has added her name to a prominent list of Bahraini world champions, who have been some of the biggest stars in global track and field.

They include Rashid Ramzi, who captured a fantastic gold medal double (men’s 800m and 1,500m) in 2005, Maryam Yusuf Jamal (women’s 1,500m) in 2007, Maryam (women’s 1,500m) again and Yusuf Saad Kamel (men’s 1,500m) in 2009, Rose Chelimo (women’s marathon) in 2017 and Salwa Eid Naser (women’s 400m) in 2019.

In last night’s final, Winfred started things off at the back o f t h e 15-ath – lete pack but then positioned herself in fifth behind leader Beatrice Chepkoech of Kenya, Sembo Almayew of Ethiopia, Faith Cherotich of Kenya and Peruth Chemutai of Uganda. Midway through the distance, she moved up to third and with three laps to go, was right behind the pace-setting Chepkoech. Winfred looked strong as the pair began to separate themselves from the rest of the field.

She made her move for the lead after the water jump on the penultimate lap and was in front of the bell. Winfred put in a determined effort to widen the gap from there and pulled away from Chepkoech down the back straight and round the final bend.

As she cleared the final hurdles, she was all alone on the home stretch and comfortably crossed the finish.

Winfred completed the race in a world-leading time of eight minutes 54.29 seconds.

She eclipsed her old personal best of 8:56.55, which she set last year, and shattered her previous top mark of 2023 of 9:04.38.

Chepkoech claimed the silver medal at 8:58.98, while Cherotich was the bronze medallist at 9:00.69.

Winfred’s first world title is another glowing achievement in her already decorated career. She also won gold medals in the 3,000m steeplechase at the Asian Games in 2018 and the Asian Championships in 2019, as well as the 5,000m gold at the same continental meeting that year. Winfred is also an Arab champion and a gold medallist in the Military World Games.

In the two previous world championships, Winfred came up agonisingly short in her quest for the podium, taking fourth place in the finals in 2019 in Doha and then again last year in Eugene, Oregon, in the US.

Winfred was one of four Bahraini athletes at this year’s worlds.

Kemi Adekoya came close to also winning a medal, finishing fourth in the women’s 400m hurdles final while setting new Asian records thrice in each of her track appearances.

Rose could not repeat her success from 2017 and did not finish in this year’s women’s marathon, while Birhanu Balew was unable to contend for a medal in both the men’s 10,000m and 5,000m.

Salwa and Abdi Ali Gelelchu were also originally scheduled to compete, but Salwa was forced to withdraw due to injury, and Gelelchu faced visa issues that prevented him from taking part.


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