Friday, 15 December, 2017

Coburn, Frerichs complete shock U.S. one-two in steeplechase

Emma Coburn wins gold, Courtney Frerichs grabs silver in women's steeplechase at world championships Nixa native, UMKC product Frerichs part of gold-silver finish for US in London
Rita Gibson | 12 August, 2017, 14:35

Emma Coburn became the first athlete to break a record at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships here as she led home an American one-two to emerge victorious in a freaky and dramatic 3,000 metres steeplechase race.

Miller-Uibo was 0.07 seconds adrift in third place, her bronze medal - her first over this distance at either the Olympic Games or World Championships - offering some consolation from a hard Championships.

Frerichs entered the world championships with a personal-best time of 9:19.09; she ran a blistering 9:03.77 Friday.

The duo were not counted among the favourites heading to London, with world record holder and 2016 Olympic champion Ruth Jebet of Bahrain looking like the one to beat. The Americans went very fast, as you saw with the championship record.

It was here where Coburn seized her opportunity as she kicked on, completing the water jump easily before she found another boost in speed to clinch a superb triumph. With two laps to the tape, she led three Kenyans but it was the two Americans who had hung back who posed the greatest threat.

Kenya's Hyvin Jepkemoi, the 2015 world champion, took the bronze medal. Jebet faded to fifth place. "My fiancee and coach, Joe [Bosshard], was telling me be really powerful in that last water jump". "I am just so delighted I didn't think I would, all I thought I could do was make the top six", said the 24-year-old. These marked the first two steeplechase medals for US women since the event began at the world championships in 2005.

What was she thinking? Image Getty
What was she thinking? Image Getty

"My coach (Jerry Schumacher) had told me to just go for it", Frerichs told NBC after the race.

"If I can't have the gold medal it's lovely to see girls I raced in college get it because I do believe I can be that good", the 28-year-old said.

"The girl that came second, Courtney, I beat her in the Olympic final past year and layer upon layer she's become a better athlete".

Kenyans won the previous two women's steeplechase world championship titles but would have to settle for bronze in 2017.

Frerichs also competed in the steeplechase in last year's Rio Olympics, placing 11th. Kenya's Conseslus Kipruto won gold.

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