Evan Jager, photo by PhotoRun.net
Evan Jager is a threat to Kenyan dominance in the steeplechase. He showed that on Saturday night in the AREVA steeplechase. In a thrilling and heart breaking race, Jager took the lead over the last 800 meters and clipped a barrier with 100 meters to go, got up and still finished in 8:00.45. Jairus Birech broke eight minutes to take the WL.
In this piece, Justin Lagat wrote this piece on a view from Kenya this very morning! It is early evening in Paris, as I have BEin sports on, watching Wimbledon. Enjoy your Sunday, get in a run and enjoy your friends!
Evan Jager presents a threat to Kenya’s dominance in the steeplechase at the Areva Meeting, by Justin Lagat
The battle ends, Birech and Jager, photo by PhotoRun.net
The race of the evening at the Paris Diamond League meeting was arguably the one between Jager and Jairus; the men’s 3000m steeplechase. From this race, it would appear that if anyone wants to start filling the first two positions at the world championship for this race, then they may as well begin now by writing the first two initials, “Ja”, and getting ready to follow them with a “g” or an “I” depending on how the race will turn out. Lightning does not strike the same tree twice, states one old Kalenjin saying and the Kalenjins dominating the 3000m steeplechase event now knows that very well. Evan Jager will definitely not stumble again on the last barrier at the world championships in Beijing.
I had a brief chat with Jairus Birech after this race and he told me that it was good that Jager has now finally come out and shown how strong he really is, so that he won’t be coming as a surprise to Kenyans at the world championships. “I am now getting back to some serious training,” he said, adding that the two will not meet again until they do so in Beijing.
Evan Jager too, after the race, noted that he now knows for sure that the possibility of beating the Kenyans at the world championships is not farfetched. The finish of this race was dramatic as Jairus seized the opportunity when Jager fell down to run past and secure the win in a world leading time of 7:58.83, Jager followed in a US record of 8:00.45.
In an interview with Jairus Birech for RunBlogRun earlier this year, he had confided in me that the person he feared could cause an upset to Kenyans at the world championships this year was none other than Jager. It seems as though Jairus indeed knows how well to judge his opponents.
Another exciting race was the women 5000m .Ever imagined a world record being held by one family and being passed on from one sibling to another? Well, only four seconds prevented that happening at the Areva Meeting. In an unsteady pace that saw two athletes oscillating in and out of the world record schedule throughout the race, Genzebe Dibaba produced a devastating finish in the last lap to win it in 14:15.41.
The race had quickly turned into a duel between Almaz Ayana, who had requested a world record pace for the race, and Genzebe Dibaba who has been constantly in pursuit of the world record this year. Even though Genzebe Dibaba did not break the record here, she must have been glad that the record still remained in their family.
After all, it was her sister, Tirunesh Dibaba, who gave her the greatest capital to kick off her running career, not in terms of training facilities alone, but more in the already famous name to start with; Dibaba. She probably also contributed a lot to her success by being her role model and showing her how much, with the same genes, she can achieve if only she tried her best.
As expected, Eunice Sum continued her winning streak in the women 800m race winning the race in a world leading time of 1:56.99 and leading most of her other competitors in this race register their personal best times. Eunice Sum continues to be unbeaten this year.
Silas Kiplagat who is always known for his great finishing kicks in the 1500m race did not disappoint the Kenyan fans also, but disappointed Ayanleh Souleiman’s fans by edging the latter before winning the race in a world leading time of 3:30.12. Souleiman followed in 3:30.17.
Except in the women 5000m race, world leading times were set in all the other middle and long distance races here. This goes a long way in showing how exciting this year’s Areva meeting was.
Larry Eder has had a 50-year involvement in the sport of athletics. Larry has experienced the sport as an athlete, coach, magazine publisher, and now, journalist and blogger. His first article, on Don Bowden, America's first sub-4 minute miler, was published in RW in 1983. Larry has published several magazines on athletics, from American Athletics to the U.S. version of Spikes magazine. He currently manages the content and marketing development of the RunningNetwork, The Shoe Addicts, and RunBlogRun. Of RunBlogRun, his daily pilgrimage with the sport, Larry says: "I have to admit, I love traveling to far away meets, writing about the sport I love, and the athletes I respect, for my readers at runblogrun.com, the most of anything I have ever done, except, maybe running itself."
Theme song: Greg Allman, " I'm no Angel."
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