LONDON, England- The shocks at London 2017 IAAF World Championships in Athletics kept coming on Friday night when Americans Emma Coburn and Courtney Frerichs produced the races of their lives to win gold and silver in the women 3000m steeplechase.
Beijing 2015 champion, Hyvin Kiyeng of Kenya surrendered her title by being forced to accept the bronze behind Coburn who uncorked a 9:02.58 championship record and her teammate came home for the silver in a 9:03.77.
“I just saw my fiancee (coach Joe Bosshard) in the crowd which makes it (the win) even better.
“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,” Coburn said.
“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,” the over-joyed American added.
Kiyeng who won the second medal at the Rio 2016 Games ahead of Coburn who sealed the podium led the challengers home in 9:04.03 well clear of compatriot Beatrice Chepkoech (9:10.45) who veered off course to end her charge for the precious metal.
Coburn powered away from a group of three off the final water jump to become the first American woman to be crowned a global steeplechase champion.
She was chased home by Frerichs a 9:19 performer before the gun fired on Friday night as she chalked a massive 16 seconds off her previous personal best at the Olympic Stadium in London.
Olympic champion and world record-holder Kenyan born Bahraini Ruth Jebet faded out of contention, dropping back to fifth in 9:13.96.
Coburn entered history books as the first American since 1952 when Horace Ashenfelter won the Olympic title to win a global title in the 3000m steeple.
The race had been eventful from the start with 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 the rank pre-race favourite 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.
-Material from the IAAF and AFP used in compiling this report