Here’s Justin Lagat’s comments on the upset by Emma Coburn and Courtney Frerichs in the women’s steeplechase. We appreciate Justin’s view from Kenya each week!
The women’s 3000m steeplechase final at the London world championships was an evidence of the changes happening in athletics
This has been a world championship full of surprises and open races in many of the events, which perhaps shows were the sport of athletics is headed to. The competition is not as predictable as it used to be some time back when a 5000m, or a 10,000m race was expected to be a race between Kenyans and Ethiopians while the rest of the world gave them company. As at now, anyone from any other country in the world has a good chance to win any race. It could be the results of the social media, YouTube and blogs where athletes are now sharing their training programs and everyone everywhere now knows what it takes to win any event by following on what the world beaters are doing. Coaches also have definitely been as well studying past races, doing their homework well and strategizing with their athletes.
Ambroise Bosse of France was definitely not the most favorite to win the gold medal in the men’s 800m race. Same to Amy Cragg of USA winning bronze in the women marathon beating Mare Dibaba, the world defending champion and Eunice Kirwa, the reigning Olympic champion, among others. And, who would have expected Phyllis Francis to win the women’s 400m race?
Coming to the women 3000m steeplechase race, the only big competitor that most of the Kenyan fans were focusing on beating in the final was Ruth Jebet of Bahrain. But, Emma Coburn and Courtney Frerichs of USA pulled out a huge surprise for them and finished in the first two positions winning gold and silver medals, respectively. The defending champion, Kenya’s Hyvin Kiyeng won the bronze medal.
All went as as predicted in the early stages of the race, except when Beatrice Chepkoech missed the turn to the water barrier and had to run back again to jump over it. Many expected Ruth Jebet to take to the front early and push for a fast pace that would favor her, and she was doing exactly that with Kenya’s Celliphine Chespol on her heels and the other two Kenyans, Kiyeng and Beatrice following closely behind.
It was a big disappointment to the Kenyan fans. But, when they expected someone else to disappoint them anyway and someone else does, then it may not be all that disappointing after all.