U.S. stuns Kenya in steeple­chase

His­toric 1-2 fin­ish for women adds to the grow­ing list of surprises

Houston Chronicle - - SOCCER | ETC. - By Ed­die Pells

LON­DON — Rolling on the ground, still gasp­ing for breath, Court­ney Frerichs hugged Emma Coburn and shouted into her ear: “Am I dream­ing? Am I dream­ing?”

Nope. That re­ally hap­pened.

The two Amer­i­cans out­ran two Kenyans to the fin­ish­lineFri­dayan­dend­edup 1-2 in the steeple­chase at the world cham­pi­onships for the lat­est im­prob­a­ble — in this case, im­pos­si­ble? — tri­umphs for a sta­ble of U.S. long-dis­tance run­ners who keep get­ting stronger.

A record-set­ting race Coburn fin­ished in an Amer­i­can-record time of 9 min­utes, 2.58 sec­onds, while Frerichs set a per­sonal best at 9:03.77. These marked the first two steeple­chase medals for U.S. women since the event be­gan at the world cham­pi­onships in 2005. It marked the first time Amer­i­cans have fin­ished 1-2 in a women’s or men’s steeple­chase at the worlds or the Olympics.

These were the fourth and fifth medals for the U.S. dis­tance run­ners at the cham­pi­onships in Lon­don.

None were more shocking than this.

In Fri­day’s race, the field got a break early when one of the world’s best — Beatrice Chep­koech of Kenya — missed the turn for the wa­ter jump on the in­side of the track and had to go back, cost­ing her pre­cious en­ergy.

Coburn and Frerichs raced near the front the en­tire way.

“I was just wait­ing for the Africans to pass me and surge to over­take me,” Coburn said. Only it never hap­pened. The fi­nal sprint came down to the two Amer­i­cans and two Kenyans — Chep­koech and Hyvin Jep­ke­moi.

In the past, there was no doubt who would win that sort of show­down. This time, the U.S. run­ners came out on top, while Jep­ke­moi took bronze and Chep­koech fin­ished fourth.

Coburn and Frerichs made his­tory — and could barely be­lieve it them­selves.

“I was just in com­plete shock,” Frerichs said. “I kept think­ing to my­self, ‘Did this just re­ally hap­pen?’ ”

Dafne Schip­pers proved again she is the fastest woman over 200 me­ters at the world cham­pi­onships, fin­ish­ing just ahead of Marie-Josee Ta Lou to de­fend her ti­tle in 20.05 sec­onds.

“I re­ally had to fight for it to­day,” Schip­pers said. “It is not an easy life but it can be beau­ti­ful.”

Costly mis­take

An­other crazy in­ci­dent came in the women’s long jump. Ivana Spanovic ap­peared to have pro­duced a medal-win­ning leap on her fi­nal at­tempt, but she was given a much shorter mark — seem­ingly be­cause the num­ber bib on her back dragged into the sand and likely cost her pre­cious cen­time­ters.

With­out that jump, Brit­tney Reese added a world ti­tle to the Olympic gold she won in the same sta­dium five years ago.

Darya Klishina of Rus­sia, com­pet­ing as a neu­tral ath­lete be­cause of her coun­try’s dop­ing sus­pen­sion, took sil­ver, and de­fend­ing cham­pion Tianna Bar­to­letta added yet an­other Amer­i­can medal with bronze.

Pa­trick Smith / Getty Images

Court­ney Frerichs, back right, is over­come with emo­tion as she fin­ishes sec­ond to U.S. team­mate Emma Coburn in the women’s 3,000-me­ter steeple­chase.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.