Ezekial Kemboi took the lead with 260 meters go, and started running wildly, hurdling the barrier and running like a bat out of hell over the final furlong, taking his fourth gold medal in a World Championships. Add that to his two silver medals. I met the mild mannered Kenyan, who can be crazy after his wins, in Paris this past summer. Nice guy, and tough, tough, tough on the track!
Here is Alfons Juck’s story on the Kenyan victories in the steeple!
Brimin Kipruto, photo by PhotoRun.net
Ezekiel Kemboi leads Kenyans to a 1-2-3-4 finish in the men’s 3000m steeplechase, by Justin Lagat
Before the finals of the men’s 3000m event, I was waiting to see whether Ezekiel Kemboi was going to toe the start line with a new hair-cut. This would tell how determined he was about defending his title. He did finally appear with his trade mark hair style, an indication that he was indeed ready to win another world championship gold medal.
After the Paris Diamond League race that saw Evan Jager almost win from Jairus Birech, many athletic fans thought that the finals of the steeplechase race in Beijing was going to be a rematch between Jager and Birech, but the two failed to make it a fast race as expected. Birech had surged forward with four laps to go, but did not maintain the pace as he usually does in the Diamond League races. The leading pack was still together at the bell and this played well for Ezekiel Kemboi who exploded into a strong kick with three hundred meters to go. The only other athlete who had a kick that seemed to match his was Conseslus Kipruto who followed him closely and looked as though he was going to overtake him with one barrier remaining to the finish line, but he too lost the strength as he was about to jump over the barrier. Ezekiel Kemboi won the race comfortably in 8:11.28. Three other Kenyans; Conseslus Kipruto, Brimin Kipruto and Jairus Birech, followed in that order to take all the top four positions in 8:12.38, 8:12.54, 8:12.62 respectively.
Kemboi has always been present in every 3000m steeplechase event at the world championships since 2003 when he had started by winning a silver medal that year and also in 2005 and in 2007. From 2009, he started winning gold medals ever after at every world championships that followed. These championships have also been acting as Kemboi’s chance to run in the next championships given that he has always been getting wild cards as the defending champion and does not always have to try and earn a place in the Kenyan team by competing at the Kenyan trials.
At the trials inside the Safaricom Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi on the 1st of this month, Kemboi had finished fourth and pointed a finger to the direction of China. He knew that he was in good form and was simply telling the Kenyan fans to wait and watch what was going to happen in Beijing. Sure indeed, he delivered one of the best historic moments for Kenyans in all the world championship outings that Kenya has ever been represented.
For now, two questions remain to be answered: First, when is Ezekiel Kemboi going to be beaten at the world championships? Second, will Kenyans ever be defeated in this event at the world championships?