NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 8 – Olympic Champion Conseslus Kipruto stormed to victory in the men’s 3000m steeplechase to get third gold for his country at the IAAF London World Championships on a day Kenya conducted its General Elections on Tuesday.
Kipruto, who claimed gold in 8:14.12, kicked with 300 metres remaining and held on to see off the threat posed by Morocco’s Soufiane Elbakkali, who also surged past Jager coming into the final straight.
Elbakkali took silver 0.37sec apart in 8:14.48 while Jager took bronze in 8:15.53.
The win ensured Kenya continues their dominance over the water and barrier event to six consecutive editions with veteran Ezekiel Kemboi winning the last four from 2007 -2015.
Kemboi, who was looking for his fifth title, finished 11th in 8:29.38 a position ahead of Jairus Birech who timed 8:32.90.
“I used my plans well and last night for morale I told myself: ‘I am Olympic champion and that others must break me’,” explained the winner. “There are others who are strong, but I knew if the race was around 8:10 that I was going to win,” Kipruto said.
A silver medalist in Beijing two years ago, Kipruto took the lead with less than 300 meters to go and was celebrating well before crossing the finish line.
Kenya has now won 12 out of the 15 editions of the race in World Championships history.
There was no clean sweep as there was in Beijing two years ago, however, as Soufiane El Bakkali of Morocco clinched silver to win his first major medal.
Jager, who led for most of the race, became the first American to win a world championship medal in the steeplechase, taking bronze in 8:15.53.
Kipruto and his Kenyan teammate – two-time Diamond Trophy winner Birech – led the field out, with US champion Jager tracking every move in third.
At the 1000m mark – reached in 2:51.81 – the Ethiopian trio of Tesfaye Deriba, Tefase Seboka and Getnet Wale took over at the front ahead of Kipruto and Jager, with 17-year-old Ugandan Albert Chemutai close behind.
Meanwhile, Kenya’s defending champion Kemboi – running for his fifth consecutive world title – was moving up through the field, along with Chemutai’s Ugandan teammate Jacob Araptany, who subsequently stopped to re-attach his shoe and dropped back to 14th.
When world leader Jager took up the running four laps out with the Kenyan trio and Elbakkali – who has two 8:05 clockings to his name in 2017 – lined up behind him, it was clear it was going to be something of a USA v the might of Africa showdown.
After passing 2000m in 5:35.46, Birech was the first to crumble, as Kemboi also became detached 700m from the finish, leaving Jager, Kipruto and Elbakkali – the fastest three in the world this year – to battle it out for the medals.
Kipruto made his move on the back straight of the final lap. Although he was caught on the water jump, the Kenyan proved too strong for his rivals, breaking clear on the home straight.
The 22-year-old made sure he enjoyed his first IAAF World Championships triumph too, having taken silver in 2013 and again in 2015 when he broke his shoe on the final lap, gesturing to the crowd as he approached the finish line.
-Additional material from IAAF-