By Chris Lotsbom, @ChrisLotsbom
(c) 2016 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
LAUSANNE, SUI (25-Aug) — With none of the Olympic steeplechase medalists entered, the men’s race was up for grabs with pre-race favorites Jairus Birech and Paul Kipsiele Koech sitting second and fourth on the world list. Neither, however, would be involved in the sprint for victory.
Abraham Kibiwott and Nicholas Bett would be the two leading with 400 meters left, having survived the hot pace from the gun and held on as one by one competitors dropped. When the pacers stepped off late, both were far ahead of the field.
Bett hit the bell five meters up on Kibiwott, though the 19-year-old would not give in. Down the stretch and into the final water jump Kibiwott drew even, then surged approaching the last obstacle. Kibiwott would win 8:09.58 to 8:10.07 in a race that could indicate two young stars on the rise in the discipline (Bett is 19; Kibiwott’s 20).
“[I’m] happy with the finish. It was not difficult today. I was taking my time as I knew I can win it in the last lap,” said Kibiwott. “I want to continue winning in Brussels, which will be my last race of the season.”
Americans Donn Cabral and Andy Bayer were sixth and eighth in 8:20.77 and 8:23.88.
“I felt pretty good. I was pretty happy with the race the whole time. It got pretty heavy at the end,” said Cabral. “This kind of rubbed the really bad taste off the Olympic final.”
The next stop of the IAAF Diamond League tour is in Paris on Saturday.