Coburn sets women's steeplechase championship record at London worlds

US duo stuns steeplechase world

Emma Coburn wins gold, Courtney Frerichs grabs silver in women's steeplechase at world championships

She won the world championship in the women's 3000 meters Steeplechase at the IAAF World Athletics Championships in London Friday. Olympic bronze medalist Emma Coburn and fellow Olympian Courtney Frerichs changed that with a 1-2 finish to capture gold and silver in the world championship final at London's Olympic stadium.

Coburn broke the American record of 9:07.63 which she set at the Olympics.

Frerichs finished in 9:03.77s to complete a brilliant one-two for the United States and smash her own personal best by 16 seconds.

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World record holder Ruth Jebet led the race for the first two kilometers, which saw Kenyan Beatrice Chepkoech accidentally skip a water barrier and then a fall that took down some other competitors.

"The girl that came second, Courtney, I beat her in the Olympic final a year ago and layer upon layer she's become a better athlete".

It was here where Coburn seized her opportunity as she kicked on, completing the water jump easily before she found another boost in speed to clinch a superb triumph. Jebet faded to fifth place. The Americans went very fast, as you saw with the championship record. "Evan (Jager) and I have been in the mix the last couple of years. So that's what I was thinking".

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One big difference: There's evidence that this most recent triumph could be more the norm than the exception.

"I have memories from 2015 and 2016 where I went too early for the last push, so I just had to keep trusting myself and be patient, and it looks like it paid off". "He told me that Emma races smart and that could get me in a good position to maybe crack the top five or six and hopefully get a good time. This is better than I could ever have imagined." said a jubilant Coburn after the race. "I did all I could to win that race but they were stronger", she pointed out.

The duo was not counted among the outright favourites heading to this meet, although Coburn did win bronze at the Olympics previous year.

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Over the decades, the USA has had its share of moments at the long distances that have generally been dominated by Africans: Billy Mills came out of nowhere to win gold in the 10,000 at the 1964 Olympics; Jim Ryun held world records in the 1960s and has Olympic silver from the 1,500 in 1968.

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