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ACCIDENT MARS MEN'S STEEPLECHASE QUALIFYING
By David Monti
(c) 2007 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

Aug 25, 2007


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Who will win the
Men's Steeplechase?
Soufiane El Bakkali MAR49.7%
Getnet Wale ETH21.5%
Benjamin Kigen KEN14.1%
Conseslus Kipruto KEN8.9%
Leonard Kipkemoi Bett KEN3.2%
Lamecha Girma ETH1.9%
Hillary Bor USA0.3%
Abraham Kibiwot KEN0.3%
Fernando Carro ESP0.2%
Chala Beyo ETH0.1%

OSAKA (26-Aug) -- An accident just one lap into the first heat marred the qualifying round for the men's 3000m steeplechase this morning at Nagai Stadium.

As the athletes approached the turn-one barrier just after passing the finish line, veteran steeplechaser GŁnther Weidlinger of Austria tripped and fell forward.  He fell so abruptly, and so close to the barrier that he did not have time to protect himself from the impact.  He struck the barrier at full speed with the left side of his face, which violently snapped his head back, depositing him on the track under the barrier on his back.  Weidlinger appeared conscious, putting his hand on his face, but he seemed motionless when he was removed from the track on a stretcher.  There was no immediate report available on his condition.

Weidlinger's fall forced American Tom Brooks to dive over the barrier like a gymnast, doing a forward roll on the track.  He was able to get back into the race, but finished last in 8:56.20, ending his first World Championships.  Sweden's Henrik Skoog also went down in the same incident and he finished second to last in 8:51.61.

The ill-fated heat was won by Tareq Mubarak Taher of Bahrain, the athlete who was recently stripped of his 2005 World Youth 2000m steeplechase title for falsifying his age.  He clocked 8:19.99 ahead of Abdelkader Hachlaf of Morocco and Ezekiel Kemboi of Kenya as the top-3 finishers in each heat automatically advanced to Tuesday's final.  Fourth place finsher Bouabdallah Tahri of France advanced on time.

The second heat ended up being the slowest and only delivered three qualifiers: Richard Matelong of Kenya, Nahom Mesfin Tariku of Ethiopia and Brahim Taleb of France.  Matelong clocked an energy-saving 8:29.49.

Six qualifiers came from the third and final heat, led by reigning Olympic silver medalist Brimin Kipruto of Kenya (8:21.93).  Halil Akkas of Turkey (8:22.37) and Mustafa Mohamed of Sweden (8:22.80) rounded out the top-3.

Middle distance action returns to the track tonight with the women's 800m semi-finals.  Defending champion Zulia Calatayud of Cuba will be in action in heat 2 and the silver medalist from Helsinki, Hasna Benhassi of Morocco, will be lining up in heat 3.


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