Emma Coburn (R) and Courtney Frerichs of the United States celebrate after Women's 3000m Steeplechase Final on Day 8 of the 2017 IAAF World Championships at London Stadium in London, Britain, on Aug. 11, 2017. Emma Coburn claimed the title with 9 minutes 2.58 seconds. Courtney Frerichs took the silver medal with 9 minutes 3.77 seconds. (Xinhua/Luo Huanhuan)
LONDON, Aug. 11 (Xinhua) -- Olympic bronze medalist Emma Coburn of the United States cut nearly four seconds off the Championships record en route to winning the women's 3,000 meters steeplechase at the 2017 IAAF World Championships here on Friday.
The 26-year-old Coburn waited patiently behind world record holder Ruth Jebet of Bahrain and three Kenyan athletes, including defending champion Hyvin Kiyeng Jepkemoi, for most of the race, before charging for the lead together with her teammate Courtney Frerichs in the final lap.
The American duo notched the leading positions off the final curve and Coburn hit the finish line in style in nine minutes, 2.58 seconds, smashing the previous Championships record of 9:06.57 set by Russia's Yekaterina Volkova back in 2007.
"This is incredible. I'm lost for words. This is better than I could ever have imagined." said a jubilant Coburn after the race. "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."
The winning time also turns out to be the personal best for Coburn, whose previous career mark was 9:07.63 set last summer at Rio Olympics.
"I never expected to win in that time but I kept pressing. It is pretty amazing to get a championship record," she added.
Frerichs took the silver medal in 9:03.77, which is also a personal best for the 24-year-old. She hugged with Coburn after crossing the line to celetrate the first ever one-two finish in steeplechase for the United States at World Championships.
"I'm so happy to have won alongside Emma. She ran an amazing race to get the championship record. I'm just going to enjoy the moment with her," Frerichs said. "I feel like I am in a dream. This is just unreal, it has to be. I didn't expect a medal at halfway. Myself and Emma just worked hard and dealt with whatever tactics the African athletes threw at us. We just wanted to show the American women are stepping up over the discipline as well."
The bronze medal went to Jepkemoi with a clocking of 9:04.03.
"I tried to stay at the front but they had too much over the last water jump. They had a good race. I tried to react but I could not hang on. I'm pleased to medal," said the Kenyan, who was the silver medalist in Rio last August.
Jepkemoi's countrywoman Celliphine Chepteek Chespol clocked a world under-20 record of 9:15.04 to finish sixth.