It looks as though Ethiopia has found a steeplechaser at last. Despite the African nation’s extensive success in endurance events, Ethiopia has never quite managed to dominate the steeplechase the same way in which they have with distance races. But Legese Lamiso could signal the dawning of a new era in Ethiopian distance running.
The Boys 2000m Steeplechase final looked as though it could have gone to any four of the five Africans in the final. The Kenyan pair of Silas Kitum and Jonathan Ndiku led from the start, while Lamiso and Morocco’s Abdellah Dacha followed close behind.
The quartet soon broke away from the chasing pack as the leading position continued to be swapped around by Kitum, Ndiku, Lamiso and Dacha. Half way was reached in 2:48 as the pace began to wound up, making it more difficult for the chasers – led by Spain’s Antonio Abadía and Australia’s Richard Everest – to stay in contact.
Soon after the bell sounded for the last lap, Dacha tried making a move to the front but was forced out into lane three as he tried to negotiate the bodies ahead of him. With 300 metres to go, Lamiso started his long run for home and was pursued by Kitum.
But there was no catching Lamiso who, after sailing over the final water barrier, showed an astounding turn of leg speed to sprint to victory in 5:30.81, having covered the final lap in less than 60 seconds.
Kitum held on for silver ahead of Dacha, making it an all-African podium, albeit with medallists from three different countries. Ndiku was fourth, some 16 seconds ahead of Abadía as Everest held on for sixth.