Justin Lagat wrote this on Day 5. He is doing a piece a day for RunBlogRun! This is a fun piece.
The men’s 3000m steeplechase final is shaping up into a very exciting final after what just happened in the heats. Not only will the four Kenyans who made it to the finals be looking out for Soufiane El Bakkali of Morroco and USA’s Hillary Bor and France’s Djilali Bedrani, but more importantly, the three Ethiopians who also made it to the finals and are beginning to invade a territory that has always belonged to the Kenyans at the world championships for a long time.
For the Kenyan runners led by Conseslus Kipruto, they know that Kenyans have always won gold medals and dominated this event from as early as 1968 by great legends that included Amos Biwott, among others. They are not going to let it end in their era. It will be like letting the relay baton drop when your teammates have safely delivered it to you and you are already so far ahead of your competitors.
Ethiopia’s Getnet Wale and Lamecha Girma won their respective 1st and 2nd heats with Wale’s time of 8:12.96 being the fastest time of the evening. The third heat that had a lot of drama in it was won by Conseslus Kipruto. Three runners fell down within the first 100m of the race. Ethiopia’s Tekele Nigate then fell and hit the water barrier followed by Kipruto stumbling and almost falling down in two instances during the race. All these could have been because the third heat was a bit slower and the athletes were crowded for the better part of the race.
Kipruto, who still looked very strong and even appeared to be chatting with his countryman, Benjamin Kigen as they cleared the last barrier did speak to the Kenyan media after his race and told them that he would not have expressed his confidence if he was not feeling in the right form to defend his world title. Most of his fans had been worried after he missed to participate in the earlier track competitions in the year, but his performance tonight was enough to give them hope ahead of the finals on Friday.
In another exciting final of the evening, USA’s Donavan Brazier won the men’s 800m race in a new championship record and a personal best time of 1:42.34. Amel Tuka of Bosnia and Herzegovina took second in 1:43.47 with Kenya’s Ferguson Rotich taking third in 1:43.82.