Daisy Jepkemei of Kenya wins the gold medal on the Women's 3000 metre Steepechase Final on the day three of the 14th IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona on 12 July 2102 (Getty Images) © Copyright
While Jepkemei secured the gold medal thanks to another World leading mark and massive PB of 9:47.22, Gebisa grabbed the silver in 9:50.51, also a career best.
Apart from the opening 750m when the USA’s Brianna Nerud took command of the race, Jepkemei stamped her authority in style as she moved to the front entering the third lap and was never headed. The 1000m point was hit in 3:17.11 with Gebisa closest to the Kenyan followed and still nine women in close contention.
Lap by lap Jepkemei stepped up the rhythm to whittled down the main group gradually; by halfway, Jepkemei led with Gebisa on her shoulders and another five athletes stretched out over 40m in single-file including Kenya’s Stella Ruto, Russia’s Evdokiya Bukina, Germany’s Maya Rehberg, Finland’s Oona Kettunen and the early leader Nerud.
The leading duo reached the second kilometre in 6:32.81 for a 3:15.70 split which proved to be too brisk for Kettunen and Nerud who lost ground and any chances of podium while Jepkemei and Gebisa had built a sizeable advantage on Ruto, Bukina and Rehberg.
With 600 remaining two fierce battles were on the cards, Jepkemei-Gebisa for the title and Ruto-Bukina for the bronze medal. By the bell Jepkemei had built a 10m advantage on the Ethiopian while Ruto travelled 30m behind Gebisa but herself another 10m clear of the Russian.
Jepkemei opened full gas throughout the closing lap to virtually secure the gold medal still on the home stretch but the big news came when Ruto began to threaten Gebisa’s second place. Looking for a 1-2 for Kenya, Ruto caught her rival exactly over the last water jump but Gebisa immediately reacted trying to defend the silver medal position.
At the tape, Jepkemei was an unrivalled winner in 9:47.22 while Gebisa finally held off the strong challenge provided by Ruto after a thrilling finish sprint, their respective times being 9:50.51 and 9:50.58, both PBs. Both Bukina (fourth in 9:56.46) and Nerud (fifth in 10:00.72) set respective National records.
It’s also worth mentioning that both 16-year-old Jepkemei and Ruto contested in Barcelona only their second and third ever steeplechase race.
Emeterio Valiente for the IAAF