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Coburn leads historic USA 1-2 in steeplechase

© AFP / by Pirate IRWIN | Gold medal winner US athlete Emma Coburn (R) and bronze medallist US athlete Courtney Frerichs celebrate after the final of the women's 3000m steeplechase athletics event at the 2017 IAAF World Championships August 11, 2017

LONDON (AFP) - 

Emma Coburn won the women's 3000 metres steeplechase world title on Friday leading an historic American 1-2 in an incident-packed race.

The 26-year-old Olympic bronze medallist timed a championships record 9min 02.58sec to finish ahead of team-mate Courtney Frerichs who ran a personal best of 9:03.77.

"I just saw my fiancee (coach Joe Bosshard) in the crowd which makes it (the win) even better," said Coburn.

"Oh my goodness, what a race to be part of. I have memories from 2015 (finished fifth in the world final) and 2016 where I went too early for the last push, so I just had to keep trusting myself and be patient, and it looks like it paid off.

"I never expected to win in that time but I kept pressing. It is pretty amazing to get a championship record.

"I was expecting a challenge from when I hit the front. I just expected the others to finish quickly, so I just kept pushing to make sure I got that gold that I wanted so much."

Frerichs couldn't believe she had won a medal.

"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.

Defending champion Hyvin Jepkemoi of Kenya took the bronze in 9:04.03.

Olympic champion and world record holder Ruth Jebet of Bahrain finished fifth after leading for the majority of the race but was dropped as the bell went.

The race had been eventful from the start with Kenyan Beatrice Chepkoech embarrassingly missing the water jump when she was leading.

The 26-year-old only realised her disastrous error when a team-mate clapped her hands and she turned round and rejoined the field after jumping the obstacle.

Chepkoech was working her way back into the main group when disaster struck three obstacles later and she was brought down.

She picked herself up yet again but this time there was no way back in terms of having the reserves to contest the medals.

Up front Jebet had taken up the pace with six laps remaining and went up a gear splitting the field.

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.

So it proved as Coburn moved up onto Jebet's shoulder in the finishing straight on the penultimate lap

With Jebet beating the retreat the two Americans then dealt with the Kenyan trio and came home to record a memorable 1-2 for their country.

by Pirate IRWIN

© 2017 AFP