Hyvin Kiyeng was pushed all the way by reigning world champion Emma Coburn in a thrilling women 3,000m steeplechase race that the former won and set a meeting record at Oslo’s IAAF Diamond League meeting on Thursday night.
Having dueled in Rome, Italy a week prior with Kiyeng taking advantage of a tumble by the American to take victory and set the world leading time, the meeting at Bislett Games promised fireworks.
It lived to that expectation by producing perhaps the race of the day as Coburn threatened to snatch victory out of Kiyeng, chasing her down the final straight only to miss out by a fraction of a second and consequently pushing the Kenyan to break Bislett Games record.
Kenyan pacers Ann Gathoni and Caroline Tuigong led the pack of 10 competitors at a fairly fast pace and crossed the 1,000m mark in 3:01.80. Coburn, hurting from her fall in Rome then took the initiative and assumed race leadership, guiding the front runners through 2,000m barrier in 6:08.42 with Kiyeng lurking close by ready to pounce at an opportune time.
The 2015 world champion then moved into driving seat and powered ahead and creating a four-metre buffer with a seemingly tiring Coburn. The American however, burst her lungs after the last water jump, closing in on Kiyeng with the finish line approaching.
The Kenyan took a toughly ground victory in 9:09.63 with Coburn contending for second spot in 9:09.70. Daisy Jepkemei held on for third spot in 9:16.87 while Purity Kirui finished eighth.
“I was not thinking about the time today, I just wanted to keep the winning streak although I had injuries from Rome last week. I will start chasing faster time later in the year,” Kiyeng said after her victory
The race could have produced faster times had the organisers not blundered by placing the men’s barrier in the back straight, a factor that frustrated athletes and drained them.
Elijah Manangoi recovered from his loss in Rome last week to win the dream mile at Bislett Games in 3:56.95, powering hard to hold off Bahrain’s Sadik Mikhou and Taresa Tolosa of Ethiopia.
Manangoi displayed a no-nonsense character in Oslo following the pacer Jamie Webb over a 57.30 first lap and 1:57.93 over 800m line.
The Commonwealth Games champion clocked 3:02.17 at 1,200m mark then engaged a higher gear to stop the clock in 3:56.95. Other Kenyans in the race Bethwell Birgen and Kumari Taki placed eighth and 10th.
Twenty-two-year-old Dominic Kiptarus clocked 28:05.34 to win a non-Diamond 10,000m race organised in the Bislett Games for the first time in 10 years. Initially drafted in as a rabbit, Kiptarus was smart enough to negotiate a leeway to complete the race if he had energy after completing his pacing duties.
He took over from fellow pacer Andy Vernon at 5,000m and paced to his stipulated 8,000m-mark then decided to complete the race and take honours.