Ruth Jebet at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (Getty Images) © Copyright
Report Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Report: women's 3000m steeplechase heats – Rio 2016 Olympic Games

Bahrain’s Ruth Jebet, the fastest woman in this event so far this year and the second-fastest ever, ran away from the first heat of the women’s steeplechase to win in a remarkable 9:12.62, running alone from halfway into the race

In pursuit, Sofia Assefa of Ethiopia eventually broke away for second in 9:18.75, closely pursued by world championship bronze medallist Gesa Felicitas Krause of Germany, who clocked 9:19.70 for the last automatic qualifying spot.

USA’s Colleen Quigley ran 9:21.82 in fourth place to lead those hoping to advance on time.

Both Krause and Quigley ran within a second of their PBs and Assefa within a second of her best this season in pursuit of Jebet. Eventually, Quigley and fifth-place Lydia Rotich advanced as two of the six fastest non-automatic qualifiers.

The second heat was more conservative at the start, with Emma Coburn eventually taking charge in the second kilometre and leading defending Olympic champion Habiba Ghribi of Tunisia and India’s Lalita Babar away from the rest of the pack.

Kenya’s Beatrice Chepkoech produced a turn of speed on the last lap that brought her up with Coburn and Ghribi by the water jump, and then pulled away for the win in 9:17.55, with Coburn right behind in 9:18.12.

Ghribi took the third automatic qualifying place in 9:18.71, with Babar fourth in 9:19.76.

Babar and Fabienne Schlumpf of Switzerland, sixth, both ran national records in the second heat, Schlumpf’s being 9:30.54. Along with fifth-place Madeline Heiner Hills of Australia, they also advanced to the final on time.

The third heat had a tighter pack for longer and was the slowest of the three heats through 2000m, with Kenya’s Hyvin Kiyeng and Ethiopia’s Etenesh Diro sharing the lead between them almost to two kilometres.

Just before that point, however, Diro was involved in a tangle on the backstretch which sent her and Ireland’s Sarah Treacy sprawling on the track. (Diro, Treacy and Jamaica's Aisha Praught, who was also involved in the incident, were later advanced to the final following appeals by their teams despite not being among the original 15 qualifiers.)

Diro’s right shoe was partly torn off in the tangle. She struggled at first to replace the shoe but, with the race leaving her behind, ultimately decided to discard it, stopping first to remove the sock.

She did two laps taking off from her bare foot and landing on the shoe, moving up to seventh with a time of 9:34.70, but got by far the greatest applause of the race from the crowd.

The heat was won by Kiyeng in 9:24.61, pulling away on the last lap from Australia’s Genevieve Lacaze and USA’s Courtney Frerichs who qualified in 9:26.25 and 9:27.02 respectively.

Canada’s Genevieve Lalonde ran a national record 9:30.24 for fourth while Anna Emilie Moller ran a Danish record of 9:32.68 in 6th. Lalonde took the final time qualifying spot to advance to the final.

Parker Morse for IAAF