Ruth Jebet of Bahrain broke Gulnara Galinka’s eight-year-old world record to win the women’s 3000m steeplechase on a night of eye-catching distance performances at the Meeting de Paris, the 12th stop of the IAAF Diamond League series, on Saturday (Aug 27).
Her time of 8:52.78* shattered the previous mark of 8:58.81 set by the Russian at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, and remarkably is the third sub-nine-minute clocking of the season for Jebet, who took the Olympic title in Rio 12 days ago.
At the pre-competition press conference, Jebet had played down suggestions she could break the mark. But with the pace going out faster than planned, it was clear that something special was in the hot, still Parisian air.
Caroline Tuiging paced the leaders through the first kilometre in 2:56.36, by which time the pack was spread right out behind the lead group of Jebet, Hyvin Kiyeng and second pacer Aisha Praught. Jebet had taken over by the second kilometre, which they passed in 5:54.16.
As they hit the bell in 7:50 the record was in sight, but required a faultless closing lap. That played out until the final barrier, where a slight clip almost threw Jebet to the ground. Yet she recovered, found her stride and celebrated wildly as she crossed the line.
“I’m very happy,” the 19-year-old Bahraini said. “I tried many times to beat the world record, and today we decided to push each other to go for a good time. I was not expecting such a big difference with the record. I think I finished my season today.”
What a way to do it.
Second and third were as they were in Rio: Kiyeng, who had run alongside Jebet until three laps remained, finished in 9:01.96; US record-holder Emma Coburn closed strongly for third in 9:10.86. There were four personal bests behind those three, including a 9:14.28 Oceanian record for Genevieve LaCaze in sixth. (IAAF.org)