Conseslus Kipruto of Kenya celebrates winning the Men's 3000 metres Steeplechase Final on day six of the 14th IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona on 15 July 2012 (Getty Images) © Copyright
Taking advantage of an ideal cloudy day for the stamina events – although it was also windy – the World Youth 2000m Steeplechase champion Kipruto took the lead from the gun also joined by his fellow Kenyan Gilbert Kiplangat Kirui, both the fastest in the field by far with respective times of 8:08.91 and 8:11.27.
Already at the opening water jump the Kenyan duo had built a 10m lead over a chasing trio made up of Morocco’s Hicham Sigueni, Ethiopia’s Meresa Kahasay and Eritrea’s Weynay Ghebresilasie the latter setting most of the pace.
The flying Kenyans went through the first kilometre in a terrific 2:40.71 – a 8:02 rhythm – while their pursuers travelled still fast but 20m behind. Kirui then moved to the front to help Kipruto keep the frantic pace alive but barely one lap later the world leader regained the top spot to hit the 2000m in 5:25:11, for a 2:44.40 second section split, the margin over the chasing trio having risen to 40 metres by then.
Shortly afterwards Kirui began to lose touch and Kipruto became a lonesome leader. An interesting movement was made by the second Moroccan Jaouad Chemlal who joined his compatriot Sigueni, Kahasay and ghebresilasie some 700m remaining.
At the bell Kipruto led with a handsome margin over a faltering Kirui, himself still head and shoulders ahead of the now chasing quartet.
Kipruto ran an incredibly closing lap – 2:40.98 for the third kilometre - looking for a fast time and his effort was rewarded with a new stunning championships record of 8:06.10 – also a PB - while Kirui landed silver – as he already did at the World Youth last year – timed at 8:19.94.
The bronze medal was finally taken by Sigueni in 8:30.14 ahead of his fellow Moroccan Chemlal (8:30.92) while Algeria’s Bilal Tabti set a national record of 8:32.08 for sixth after overtaking the faltering Ghebresilasie and Kahsay.
Unlike in Moncton when Kenya won all the five men's event at 800m or longer, Kipruto’s gold medal will remain the only title taken by the country in Barcelona.
Emeterio Valiente for the IAAF