AFP Rio de Janeiro
Bahrain’s Kenyan-born Ruth Jebet produced an astonishing piece of front running to win gold in the Olympic women’s 3000m steeplechase yesterday.
Jebet timed an Asian record of 8min 59.75sec, missing out on the world record by less than a second.
Reigning world champion Hyvin Kiyeng Jepkemoi of Kenya took silver in 9:07.12, with American Emma Coburn claiming bronze (9:07.63).
US champion Coburn set the early pace before Jebet, who transferred her allegiance to Bahrain from her native Kenya in February 2013, surged with five laps to run of the seven-and-a-half lap race.
As temperatures hit 35 degrees Celsius (95F), her pace immediately split the field, Jepkemoi and fellow Kenyan Beatrice Chepkoech just about staying in touch, with Coburn in fourth.
Jebet, the former world junior champion who is the second-fastest woman ever and only the second to run the event in less than nine minutes, maintained her punishing pace as the bell rang for the final lap.
Chepkoech fell off as Coburn moved up in her own battle for silver with Jepkemoi.
Ahead of them, Jebet pushed for Russian Gulnara Galkina’s world record of 8:58.81, just failing in her quest as she landed the Gulf state of Bahrain its first Olympic gold.
Bahrain’s Morocco-born Rashid Ramzi was initially awarded gold in the men’s 1500m at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but he was stripped of that after testing positive for doping.
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