Ezekiel Kemboi Wins 3rd Gold Medal at the World Championships by Justin Lagat

Justin Lagat wrote this piece about the Kenyan success in the men's steeplechase. Justin Lagat gives you his feelings on Ezekial Kemboi's success, who took his third gold medal in the World Championships....

Ezekial Kebmoi, photo by PhotoRun.net

Ezekiel Kemboi Wins 3rd Gold Medal at the World Championships
by Justin Lagat

In a thrilling race that got hotter and hotter as it reached its climax, Ezekiel Kemboi finally emerged the winner as he delivered a third gold medal to Kenya, and a third world championship gold medal for himself too. Conselsus Kipruto, still looking very energetic towards the finish line, but seeming to get a slight problem tackling the barriers came in second to win a silver medal. Frenchman, Mekhissi Benabbad came between two Kenyans to win the bronze as Paul Kipsiele Koech followed him in fourth position.

Conselsus Kipruto had hit the front from the beginning and continued to lead till the remaining three laps when Paul Kipsiele Koech took over from him. Of all the four Kenyans in the finals, Paul Kipsiele Koech was the one with the fastest PB of 7:54.31. But just like Kemboi, he often finds it hard to get to the top three during Kenya's trials, but was lucky to get a wild card to Moscow this time round after the selectors considered his past performance and experience.

Mekhissi of France began surging forward with about 250m to go and Ezekiel Kemboi went with him as Conselsus followed behind them. At the last bend, Conselsus had to move to the outside lane to overtake Mekhissi as Kemboi continued to open a gap at the front. Conselsus appeared to be gaining some ground on Kemboi as they approached the finish line, but was perhaps a little bit too late to do that. Kemboi crossed the line and pointed a finger at him. I bet that was to signal the rivalry that is to continue between them in the coming races.

The final of the 3000m men steeplechase event in Moscow was definitely going to be a battle between Conselsus Kipruto and Ezekiel Kemboi. Conselsus has been unbeaten in the IAAF diamond leagues this year and has managed to beat Kemboi in two of the meetings; the Prefontaine classic in Eugene and again at the Ostrava Golden Spike. Kemboi on the other hand has been known to be a guy who always does all his best, plus whatever it costs to win gold in big championship events. He may be defeated elsewhere, but not in a world major event like the world championships or the Olympics. These two are the athletes who had attracted so much anticipation into the steeplechase event.

In as much as the fans were eagerly looking forward to watching Kemboi dance, Kemboi himself was looking forward to defending the championship title and adding a third world championship gold medal to his trophy cabinet together with the two he won in Berlin and Daegu. He also has three silver medals which he won in Paris, Helsinki and Osaka. Conselsus Kipruto is a world junior champion and it was his first opportunity to compete at the world championships and hopefully begin establishing a big name for himself in the steeplechase event too. With a silver medal, it certainly is a great way for him to start doing that.

Conselsus Kipruto had executed a fantastic run during the Kenyan trials where he won in one of the fastest times on Kenyan soil followed by Abel Mutai. Ezekiel Kemboi had finished in 6th position, but he had nothing to worry because he already had an automatic ticket to Moscow being the defending champion. Athletic fans who had turned up at the Nyayo stadium in Nairobi during the trials were eager to see him dance after the race, and the DJ did not disappoint. His favorite song "Emily Chepchumba" was played as soon as he passed the finish line and he danced amid cheers from the crowds.

"Emily Chepchumba" is a common song in the Kalenjin community sung by Philip Yegon, an artist from the Kipsigis sub-tribe, in praise of a beautiful lady from the Keiyo sub-tribe whom he met and fell in love while sojourning the Central Rift region in Kenya. Ezekiel Kemboi often dances to the beat of this song, in the same style that the dancers in the song's video use, even without hearing the accompanying music.

Ezekiel Kemboi and Conselsus Kipruto's win brought Kenya to a second position behind USA at the medal counts, ahead of Russia. Another great moment for Kenya!

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