2018 Rome DL Diary: The sublime and the ridiculous

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P1080224.JPGEmma Coburn, Rome Golden Gala, photo by J.Stuart Weir

The women's steeplechase is one of the newer events on the women's schedule. It is, along with the women's pole vault, events that are key litmus tests to the health of women's athletics. The level of competition in the steeplechase is one of the highest in all of our sport. Emma Coburn and Courtney Frerichs shook up the world when they went gold and silver in London. Emma Coburn ran a bit too aggresive in the race today, but that is good. Coburn wants to continue her winning ways from last year.

Stuart wrote this piece on the steeple races in Rome at the Golden Gala.

The sublime and the ridiculous

The women's 3000m was a magnificent race, with a Kenyan 1,2,3. The 2015 world champion, Hyvin Kiyeng won the race in a world leading and meeting record time of 9:04.96 with 19 year old Celliphine Chespol second and Norah Jeruto third.

Kiyeng said afterwards: "I feel very good about my win especially as this is my first race of the season and I had missed almost two years before that. Beating the meeting record and achieving a world lead makes me feel really good. My aim for the season is to win the African championships and the Diamond race".

In fourth place was Emma Coburn (USA) who was with the leaders until the final water jump when she fell into the water. She explained what happened: "I was feeling strong - perhaps too strong - to the point where I came into the water jump too fast and in doing so had too much momentum for the tight window of space that I had. So I fell down and then got pushed down again so lost momentum. But I felt really strong and if I had not fallen I think I could have contended for the win. I'm proud of my race but it had an unfortunate last 150 metres but that's part of the sport. I'll just try to have a slightly less aggressive water jump in Oslo next week".

She added that she had negotiated water jumps a million times and that what happened was just bad luck. Having lost the celebrity master chef to Sandra Perkovic's discus team of earlier in the week, perhaps she should have realized there was not her week. I should add that in fifth place was Beatrice Chepkoech, a great athlete, but also one known for the incident in the 2017 world championship when she missed the water jump and had to go back and take it.

Conseslus Kipruto (Kenya) won the men's steeplechase in 8:08.40 from another Kenyan, Benjamin Kigen. Kigen had upset Kipruto, the 2016 Olympic and 2017 World Champion, at the Pre Classic last weekend.

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