Rio 2016: Kenya's Conseslus Kipruto Wins Men's 3000m Steeplechase Gold

Conseslus Kipruto. (Getty Images)

Conseslus Kipruto. (Getty Images)

Kenya's Conseslus Kipruto stormed to victory in the men's 3,000 metre steeplechase final on Wednesday, ensuring the East African nation maintained its iron grip on the event it has won in every Games since 1984.

Conseslus Kipruto stormed to victory in the men's 3000m steeplechase at the Rio Olympics on Wednesday to extend Kenya's remarkable winning streak in the event.

Kipruto timed an Olympic record of 8min 03.28sec to win Kenya's ninth straight gold in the race since 1988. American Evan Jager took silver in 8:04.28.

"I saw the screen and I saw I was far from them and I knew nobody was going to catch me. I knew I was going to win the gold in the final 100m," said Kipruto.

"In Kenya we love steeple and that's why we win! Even though today, we had an American who took silver."

Kenya's two-time Olympic champion and reigning four-time world gold medallist Ezekiel Kemboi was initially named in third place (8:08.47) in his final competitive race.

But he was disqualified for stepping off the track, promoting France's Mahiedine Mekhissi to bronze.

"Honestly, I would have preferred to have won the medal on the track," said the Frenchman, close friends with Kemboi.

It was a sad end to the illustrious career of 34-year-old Kemboi, who announced his retirement straight after the race after 18 years at the top.

Kipruto admitted he had been worried about Kemboi, whom he said had already passed on the baton.

"I was ready to beat him today," said Kipruto.

"I've been a good competitor for him and he already told me to take over the steeple so I'm so happy about that."

Kipruto took up the early running in scorching heat at the Olympic Stadium, Jager happy to take over for a couple of laps before surging with two laps to run.

Kemboi tracked the American, moving into second with Kipruto, the world silver medallist who has won all five Diamond League outings this year, also threatening.

In temperatures hitting 36 degrees Celsius (97F), the field had strung out before the bell went for the final lap, Kipruto exploding down the back straight to build up what proved to be an unassailable lead.

Coming into the home stretch, Kipruto cast a glance over his shoulders before stretching out his arms as he crossed the line for a comprehensive win.

Jager, sixth at the Beijing and London Games, produced one last spurt to overtake a fast-fading Kemboi for silver, the Kenyan left with a bronze to add to his amazing medal tally. It was the United States' first medal in the men's steeplechase since 1984.

During their long streak of wins, Kenya have swept the medals twice (1992, 2004) and taken at least two of the three medals on offer at every Olympics.

  • First Published: August 17, 2016, 21:28 IST