Kemboi snatches gold in men's 3000m steeplechase

Updated: 2011-09-02 10:06


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Kemboi snatches gold in men's 3000m steeplechase
Ezekiel Kemboi of Kenya celebrates winning the men's 3000 metres steeplechase final at the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Daegu, Sept 1, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]

DAEGU, South Korea - Defending world champion Ezekiel Kemboi of Kenya took the gold medal of the men's 3000m steeplechase in eight minutes and 14.85 seconds on Thursday night at the Daegu World Championships.

His teammate Brimin Kiprop Kipruto took the silver in 8:16.05. Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad of France collected the bronze in 8:16.09.

Kemboi, at 29, who claimed victories in this event at the 2004 Summer Olympics and the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, took off his jersey at the finish line and danced happily to entertain spectators.

Kemboi is also one of only three men to have won both Olympic and World golds in the event, along with his two fellow countrymen Kipruto and Reuben Kosgei. Kipruto, at 26, won the gold of this event both at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2007 World Championships in Osaka.

"I danced to celebrate my title defense and make the all Daegu stadium happy," Kemboi told reporters after the event.

"Brimin has run very well this year so have I. I really stretched myself and accelerate to win the race. I think there will be a big celebration in Kenya," he added.

Kipruto, a hot favorite for the gold in the final, holds a personal best of 7:53.64 which is the second fastest time ever run, and the African record, which he achieved in July this year in Monaco.

"You know I am on the podium but my goal was a bit higher than the silver today," Kipruto said. "I came here very confident as I felt I could be able to run the world record."

"But I did not manage it, so I am happy for this medal.... We are good friends with Ezekiel but still we ran our own race," he added.

Kenya, a traditional African athletics power, has been very strong in the men's 3000m steeplechase. At the Osaka World Championships in 2005, Kenya finished 1-2-3.

With Thursday's wins, Kenya has collected four gold, three silver and three bronze at the Daegu worlds, ranking the third on the medal table, after the United States and Russia.

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