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Men's Steeplechase: Kipruto Shows There is Order in the World and Leads the Kenyan 1-2-3 Sweep
by: LetsRun.com
August 28, 2007

Who wins Men's Steeplechase?

The utter Kenyan domination of the steeplechase continued on Tuesday night in Osaka at the 20007 World Athletics Championships as Kenya, led by the victory of Brimin Kiprop Kipruto, swept the medals.

A Kenyan born runner has gotten gold and silver in the steeplechase at every World Championship and Olympic Games since 1988 with the exception of 2001 when they got gold and bronze. Kenya born athletes swept the medals in 1992, 1997, 2004, 2005 and now 2007. No country dominates an event like Kenya dominates the steeplechase. However, the sweep today certainly wasn't the ho-hum Kenyan sweep one sometimes sees as there was doubt if a Kenyan would even win for much of the race.

Sweden's Mustafa Mohamed, who trains with 2007 World Leader Kenyan Paul Kipsiele Koech (who did not qualify for these World Champs) each winter in Kenya, led for most of the race. The first k was a slow 2:52.63 and the 2k was reached in 5:37.43.

Mohamed then upped the pace attempting to thin out the field with 2 laps to go. The pack of seven split in two groups on the penultimate lap. Mohamed led right until the bell when Olympic champ Ezekiel Kemboi of Kenya took the lead. Going over the first hurdle on the turn Kenyan born Tareq Mubarak Taher of Bahrain led,. then it was Kemboi, Kipruto and Mohamed all together. There was a gap of 5 or 6 meters to the third Kenyan in the race Richard Kipkemboi Mateelong.

Kemboi took the lead on the backstretch and was followed by Mateelong as the distanced themselves from Taher. Kipruto went by Kemboi on the turn as they sprinted for the win. Kipruto would hurdle the final water barrier and extend himself to the comfortable win as Kemboi had the silver locked up as well.

Taher was still in third coming off the water barrier but he was completely dead. He would go from 3rd to 6th the last straightaway and barely make it across the finish line. Mateelong had moved up well throughout the final lap and did what almost seems right- secure a Kenyan 1-2-3 sweep.

Kipruto, who was the silver medallist in Athens and bronze medallist in 2005, was glad to final come out on top. He told the IAAF, "We had a plan as a team to run together until the final 400 metres. I am so happy. It's the first time I won a gold medal. We will celebrate tonight as a team, as a country. When I saw I had already won, and my fellow Kenyans came in 1-2-3, I started celebrating, because my country took 1, 2 and 3."

Mateelong who was languishing behind the leaders at the bell said his compatriots gave him the strength to get the bronze, "When I saw my colleagues in the front, I realized I still had the energy to complete the Kenyan sweep. We wanted to make the race a Kenyan affair, and we accomplished it. I'm very proud of it, especially as it is my first participation in a world championships."

Focus now turns to the Beijing Olympics where Kemboi will be out to defend his Olympic title but likely will have to face world record holder Shaif Shaheen who is injured this year as well as world learder Paul Kipsiele Koech . Kemboi said, "I thank God for this medal although before the race I was of course thinking about win. But Kipruto is strong and I am happy for his win. Next year will be even more important, I want to defend my Olympic title."

Results below
*Message board thread on Kenyan Sweep
*Thread on historic domination by Kenya in steeple
*For a recap on the historic win by Janeth Jepkosgei in the Women's 800 click here

Official Results - 3000 Metres Steeplechase - M - Final 
28 august 2007 - 20:55  
Pos Bib Athlete     Country Mark    
1   770 Brimin Kiprop Kipruto   KEN 8:13.82     
2   767 Ezekiel Kemboi  KEN 8:16.94     
3   775 Richard Kipkemboi Mateelong KEN 8:17.59     
4   1030    Mustafa Mohamed SWE 8:19.82     
5   576 Bouabdallah Tahri   FRA 8:20.27     
6   1057    Halil Akkas TUR 8:22.51     
7   512 Eliseo Martín   ESP 8:22.91     (SB)
8   410 Tareq Mubarak Taher BRN 8:22.95     
9   817 Abdelkader Hachlaf  MAR 8:24.18     
10  538 Roba Gary   ETH 8:25.93     
11  921 Abubaker Ali Kamal  QAT 8:26.90     
12  541 Nahom Mesfin Tariku ETH 8:28.86     
    823 Brahim Taleb    MAR DQ  
    504 José Luis Blanco    ESP DQ  
    786 Ali Ahmed Al-Amri   KSA DNF 
Intermediate    Bib Athlete     Nat Event
1000m   1030    Mustafa Mohamed SWE 2:52.63
2000m   1030    Mustafa Mohamed SWE 5:37.43

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