Kenyan Beatrice Chepkoech, the world record holder in the 3000m steeplechase, withdrew from defending her title at the world track and field championships.
Chepkoech, 31, pulled out of the meet with an injury, according to Kenyan media, after not racing the last two months.
No woman has repeated as world champion in the steeple, which debuted on the program in 2005.
Chepkoech followed her 2018 world record (8:44.32, 8.46 seconds faster than the second-fastest time in history) and 2019 World title by finishing seventh in Tokyo.
The field for Saturday’s first-round heats includes Olympic gold medalist Peruth Chemutai of Uganda and Americans Courtney Frerichs (Olympic silver medalist) and Emma Coburn (2017 World champion).
The fastest women this year are Kenyan-turned-Bahraini Winfred Yavi and Kenyan-turned-Kazakh Norah Jeruto.
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