The 2014 world junior champion graduates to Olympic gold medallist with second quickest time in history
Ruth Jebet stormed to the Olympic 3000m steeplechase title on Monday, clocking 8:59.75 for the second quickest time in history.
The 19-year-old won the world junior title two years ago and in Rio she graduated to Olympic gold medallist, improving on her own Asian record of 8:59.97 from Eugene in May for only the third ever sub-nine-minute clocking in this event behind Russian Gulnara Samitova-Galkina’s world record of 8:58.81 set in 2008.
Jebet was more than seven seconds clear ahead of Kenya’s world champion Hyvin Jepkemoi, who got silver in 9:07.12, while Emma Coburn improved her own American record with 9:07.63 for bronze.
“This is the second time that I missed the world record,” Jebet said. “I admit that it was too easy for me, but nobody told me about the record. I wanted the gold medal.”
Coburn commented: “I feel very honoured to have that part of my story on being the first American to medal in the 3000m steeplechase.”
With 8:21.40, Kenya’s two-time world silver medallist Conseslus Kipruto had been quickest to qualify for the men’s steeplechase final and there he will be joined by athletes including defending champion Ezekiel Kemboi, Frenchman Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad and Americans Don Cabral, Hillary Bor and Evan Jager. Britain’s Rob Mullett didn’t progress after clocking 8:48.19 for 12th in his heat.
One jump was all it took for USA’s defending champion Christian Taylor to qualify for the triple jump final, with China’s Dong Bin and Cao Shuo, plus American Will Claye and Portugal’s Nelson Évora also achieving the automatic qualifying distance.
Both Britons made it through the first round of the 400m hurdles as Jack Green had a strong finish for second in his heat in a season’s best of 48.96, while Seb Rodger scraped through as the fastest loser following the disqualification of Cape Verde’s Jordin Andrade.
Kenya’s world champion Nicholas Bett was among those to miss out as he clipped a hurdle and was also later disqualified.