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USA's Emma Coburn, Courtney Frerichs Pull Off Historic Steeplechase Gold, Silver

12 August 2017, 11:44 | Joan Schultz

Getty Images

Getty Images

The 26-year-old made an inexcusable mistake as she ran past the first water jump without actually leaping over the hurdle.

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.

World record holder Ruth Jebet led the race for the first two kilometers, which saw Kenyan Beatrice Chepkoech accidentally skip a water barrier and then a fall that took down some other competitors.

There was no doubt that Coburn was a potential medal contender heading into the final, though both her and Frerichs remained calm and composed throughout to secure a surprising American 1-2 in London.

The winning time also turns out to be the personal best for Coburn, whose previous career mark was 9:07.63 set last summer at Rio Olympics.

Jepkemoi finished ahead of Chepkoech who recovered impressively from a freaky mishap on the first lap when she forgot to take the water jump and had to go back round to complete it before catching up with the field. She picked herself up yet again but this time there was no way back in terms of having the reserves to contest the medals.

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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.

"My coach (Jerry Schumacher) had told me to just go for it", Frerichs told NBC after the race. She crossed in 9:03.77, followed by Jepkemoi at 9:04.22.

"What a race to be part of", said Coburn.

I never expected to win in that time but I kept pressing. I didn't expect a medal at halfway. She hugged with Coburn after crossing the line to celetrate the first ever one-two finish in steeplechase for the United States at World Championships. She just 24 years old, won an NCAA title in 2016 as a member of the New Mexico Lobos and the qualified for the Olympics, where she finished 11th in the final. Another American, Courtney Frerichs, won the silver medal.

Kenya are second with on three golds, a silver and a bronze.



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