BAKU, Azerbaijan, May 17 – Bahrain’s Olympic champion Ruth Jebet strolled to gold in the women’s 3000-metre steeplechase on day two of athletics at the Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku on Wednesday.
Jebet is arguably the biggest star at these Games and she won by over 10 seconds during the morning session at the Olympic stadium.
Her time of 9 minutes 15.41 seconds was over 21 seconds off her own world record she set in Paris last year, but she looked effortless in the Baku sunshine in front of another sparse crowd.
The battle for second place was intense between Turkey’s Tugba Govenc and Tigest Mekonen, but the Burundi athlete got the upper hand on the final 400 metres.
But after a gruelling race which featured 35 barriers, Algeria’s Amina Bettiche came from nowhere to snatch silver on the line from Mekonen in a personal best time of 9:25:90.
Mekonen crossed just a tenth of a second later in a season’s best time to take bronze just ahead of Guvenc.
Samir Aliyev launched 45.17 metres in the men’s 57 disability discus to clinch Azerbaijan’s fifth athletics gold of the Games.
Aliyev was well clear of Jordan’s silver medallist Amer Abdelaziz (42.08m) and Egypt’s Metawa Abouelkhir (41.43m) who clinched bronze.
Baku 100-metre champion Ramil Guliev remains on course for back-to-back golds after the Turk sailed through to the semi-finals of the 200 metres.
The 200-metre European Championships silver medallist looked at ease as he won heat two ahead of Burundi’s Salem Eid Yaqoob
It was bad news though for Bahrain’s 100-metre silver medallist Andrew Fisher, who failed to finish his heat after pulling up injured. Asian champion Femi Ogunode failed to start after his injury in the 100-metre final.
Gambia’s Abdoulie Assim took heat one honours on his way to a joint-fastest qualifying time of 21.29 seconds alongside Guyana’s Winston George who cruised to victory in heat five ahead of Wednesday evening’s semi-finals.
Gina Bass is favourite to make it a 100 and 200-metre double after a classy display in the women’s heats.
The Gambian clocked the quickest time in the heats (23.84secs) and had plenty left in the tank as she won heat one ahead of Morocco’s Assia Raziki.
Bass’ main challenge is expected to come from Nigina Sharipova and the 100-metre silver medallist advanced serenely into the semis after winning heat four in 24.04secs
Morocco’s Olympic semi-finallist Mostafa Smaili booked his place in the final of the men’s 800 metres after a subtle performance in heat two which saw him finish ahead of Burundi’s Abraham Kipchirch Rotich.
Moroccan Oussama Nabil won a slower heat one.