COMPLETE GUIDE TO STEEPLECHASE
THE LATEST PART OF OUR STATS SERIES LOOKS AT THE 3000m STEEPLECHASE
THE 3000m steeplechase was first run in the Olympics in
1920 and Kenya is the most successful nation with 11 golds while Finland has taken four. Kenya has also won 12 men’s golds in the world championships.
STEEPLECHASE STAR: EZEKIEL KEMBOI
WHEN Ezekiel Kemboi finished seventh in the 2008 Olympics, it looked as if he was coming to the end of a good career but not a great one. He had won the 2004 Olympics but had finished second in three successive world finals in 2003, 2005 and 2007.
But in 2009 Kemboi returned to winning ways with an 8:00.43 victory in the 2009 World Championships at Berlin. He retained his title in Daegu in 2011, with such ease he drifted out to finish in lane seven as he pumped his fists in celebration.
He then regained his Olympic title in London 2012 before winning his third world title in Moscow 2013 and then his fourth in Beijing in 2015. The latter was remarkably his seventh successive world medal.
In Rio 2016, he was no match for his runner-up in the previous two world championships, Conseslus Kipruto, but was third across the line although he was controversially disqualified for putting a foot inside the track.
While he has the most global medals (nine) of any steeplechaser, he only lies sixth on time on the all-time lists with a 7:55.76 PB in Monaco in 2011.
THE first women’s Olympic steeplechase was run as recently as 2008 in Beijing and the inaugural world championships race was in 2005 in Helsinki.
STEEPLECHASE STAR: GULNARA SAMITOVA
WITH just three Olympic and seven world champions, there is little history to this event and no one has really dominated for long in the way athletes have in other events and drug rumours abound from the not-too distant past and even with the current crop.
As she is Russian, Gulnara Samitova is certainly not free from suspicion but the manner in which she won the inaugural Olympics to be the first to break nine minutes guarantees her a place in history.
Possessing good speed (4:01 1500m, 4:20 mile and 14:33 5000m) her long legs gave her an advantage over her competitors in Beijing.
She had set world records in 2003 (9:08.33) and 2004 (9:01.59) and went into Beijing in 2008 and set a fearsome pace.
She passed 1000m in 2:58.63 and though slowing through 2000m in 6:01.20, was able to accelerate on the last lap and break the famous barrier with over a second to spare, winning gold by eight seconds in 8:58.81. She did run in the following year’s world championship, but carrying an injury was only third.
Doha 2019 prediction
If she is in the form of 2018, then Beatrice Chepkoech will be a class apart. Former world record-holder Ruth Jebet did not compete in 2018 after being named in a drugs investigation and is unlikely to compete in Doha.
Based on 2018 form, Hyvin Jepkemoi and Norah Tanui are the Kenyan’s likely team-mates but world junior champion Celliphine Chespol could be a factor if she continues to improve. Defending champion Emma Coburn should again be in the medal hunt as should 2017 runner-up and team-mate Courtney Frerichs.
In a slower race, Commonwealth champion PraughtLeer and European winner Krause could be a factor with their fast finishes.
Winning time: 8:55.88 1 Beatrice Chepkoech (KEN); 2 Hyvin Jepkemoi (KEN); 3 Emma Coburn (USA); 4 Norah Tanui (KEN); 5 Courtney Frerichs (USA); 6 Gesa-Felicitas Krause (GER); 7 Aisha Praught-Leer (JAM); 8 Peruth Chemutai (UGA)
Ezekiel Kemboi: two Olympic gold medals and four worldtitles in recent years
Gulnara Samitova: first woman to break nine minutes for 3000m steeplechase
Aisha PraughtLeer: current Commonwealth gold medallist