Jebet wins Diamond League Eugene steeplechase with second-fastest performance in history

With her historical performance at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Eugene, Oregon on 28 May, Ruth Jebet sits atop the current world steeplechase elite.

Ruth Jebet‘s return to Eugene, where she in 2014 was crowned IAAF Junior World Champion in the 3000m Steeplechase, was the latest manifestation of her rapid ascent through the ranks of the world’s elite steeplers.  Following her global junior title, Jebet over the past two seasons further established herself on the international circuit, including two 4th place finishes in Diamond League competition (’14 Zurich and ’15 Lausanne).

Entering 2016 with a personal best and Bahrain & Asian record of 9:20.55 in her specialty event, Jebet’s outdoor season opener at Diamond League Shanghai SC alerted her rivals of additional improvement, as she placed 2nd in a new Asian Record of 9:15.98.  This race also moved her to 2nd on the ’16 world steeple chart, behind Shanghai winner and ’15 IAAF world champion, Hyvin Jepkemoi Kiyeng (9:07.42).

In Eugene, Jebet’s aggressive race tactics took her into the lead before the 1000m mark, which over the next four laps grew to 30m over Kiyeng.  With one lap to go and the clock showing 7:49, Jebet not only had a sizable lead over the reigning world champion, she was also on world record pace.  However, Kiyeng mounted an impressive charge on the final lap and by the last water jump had cut Jebet’s lead in half.  She continued to make significant gains on Jebet in the final stretch, and only one last burst of effort allowed Jebet to break the tape first in 8:59.97 vs. 9:00.01 for Kiyeng.  

Just like that, Jebet and Kiyeng had run the 2nd- and 3rd-fastest steeple performances in history, respectively, only behind Gulnara Gulkina‘s WR 8:58.81 from 2008. Jebet in the process improved her own Asian Record, while Kiyeng took over the African Record previously held by Milcah Chemos since 2012 (9:07.17).  Jebet and Kiyeng now share the lead in the ’16 Diamond League steeple points race, with each having earned 1st- and 2nd-place points so far.

Other Personae-managed athletes with noteworthy performances in Eugene included Ferguson Rotich in the 800m (2nd – 1:44.56 and DL points leader in event); Timothy Kitum in the 800m (5th – 1:45.30);  Gesa Krause in the 3000m SC (7th – 9:22.33); Lidya Chepkurui in the 3000m SC (9:22.81); Isiah Koech in the 5000m (9th – 13:08.34); and Dawit Wolde in the second section of the Mile (2nd – 3:55.80).

The next stops on the 2016 Diamond League circuit take place in Rome (2 June), Birmingham (5 June), and Oslo (9 June).

Ruth Jebet in Eugene. (picture IAAF) 

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