Steeplechaser Jeruto dives into the water after world championship gold

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Steeplechaser Norah Jeruto found a cool way to celebrate her win at the end of a scorching day at the world championships. A pool party. Everyone was also invited.

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Steeplechaser Norah Jeruto found a cool way to celebrate her win at the end of a scorching day at the world championships.

A pool party. Everyone was also invited.

The Kenyan-born runner who recently started representing Kazakhstan moved to the straight after her victory on Wednesday and dove – straight into the event’s water pit.

A moment later, the Jeruto were joined by their two Ethiopian competitors, runner-up Werkuha Getachew and bronze medalist Mekides Abebe. Not wanting to be outdone, Legend, the mascot of these championships, also took the plunge.

Jeruto finished with a championship-best 8 minutes, 53.02 seconds to hold off Getachew by 1.59 seconds.

“The weather was good here. I enjoyed my race today,” said Jeruto. “Initially, I was afraid of my Ethiopian friends. They are also champions like me so I was afraid of them. I did my best to win the race and it wasn’t easy. It was hard.

It was a tough day for Emma Coburn, a two-time world medalist in this event who passed out late and finished eighth.

“Disappointing,” Coburn said. “I went there and it didn’t pay off.”

It was hot at Hayward Field with temperatures hovering around 33 degrees Celsius. To stay cool, many athletes donned ice vests before the competition, wore sunglasses during the race, and wrapped cold towels around their shoulders when finished.

But Jeruto might have had the best solution: go swimming and splashing around.

The steeplechase was one of two events that handed out medals on a night when the stands were far from full. Feng Bin of China was the surprise winner in the women’s discus, beating runner-up Sandra Perkovic of Croatia and Olympic champion Valarie Allman, who finished with bronze. Feng took the win with his first pitch.

“Really, it’s bittersweet,” said Allman, who won the world’s first women’s discus throw medal for the United States. “I just couldn’t find that big shot. It’s good to come away with a medal.”

Sydney McLaughlin walked quietly through her 400m hurdles semi-final. Barely in a hurry and conserving his energy as he approached the finish, the Olympic champion and world record holder finished in 52.17 seconds at the world championships on Wednesday night.

It’s fast so it never kicks into overdrive.

It could be another sign that his record of 51.41 – set at this track almost a month ago – could still fall. The final will take place on Friday and will feature the three medalists from the Tokyo Games – McLaughlin, silver medalist Dalilah Muhammad and bronze medalist Femke Bol of the Netherlands.

“It was a good day to go faster,” said McLaughlin, who improved his first lap time by almost two seconds. “I just want to be free, give it my all and leave it all on the track.”

On deck, another epic showdown.

“I still have something left, of course,” Bol said. “I’m ready for a good final.”

Wednesday also marked the beginning and end of Caster Semenya’s time at the world championships. She finished 13th and did not advance in her 5,000m qualifying heat. She ran the longest distance because she is banned from her specialty, the 800, due to rules that require her to take hormone-reducing drugs to compete in certain races.

The Americans suffered a blow when world 100 meter champion Fred Kerley was eliminated from the 4×100 relay with a quadriceps injury. He was injured while running the 200m semi-finals.

Kerley was a 400-meter specialist who stepped back before the Olympics last year. He won silver in the 100m in Tokyo and then gold in Eugene last Saturday as part of an American medal sweep that also included Marvin Bracy and Trayvon Bromell.

The season is over for reigning 800m world champion Donavan Brazier, who struggled in his first-round run and did not advance.

Next stop, surgery.

Brazier will undergo a procedure to shave his heel bone and in a bid to get back into shape in 2019, when he won the world championships in Doha.

“It’s very difficult to go from being the best in the world to next week I’ll be on crutches,” Brazier said. “It really sucks. It makes me feel like an injury-prone athlete. I don’t want to be that one-off runner.

Marco Arop was shocked to see his Canadian teammate Brandon McBride crashing in his eventful 800 meter streak.

A few minutes later, Arop’s biggest concern was simply to stay on his feet.

The 23-year-old from Edmonton posted the fastest time in the 800 innings, despite a lot of running in Lane 2.

“I was just trying to avoid a collision,” Arop said. “I saw Brandon in the previous round, and I was just trying to avoid that at all costs. Even if I had to go the extra distance, it was worth it.”

According to Team Canada sports physiologist Trent Stellingwerff, Arop ran an extra 10 to 14 meters in his run, which equates to an extra 1.2 to 1.5 seconds.

“The dude is in unreal shape to run a 1:44 basically in lane 2, controlling front to back,” Stellingwerff said.

Arop ran one minute 44.56 seconds. Mexican Jesus Tonatiu Lopez was second (1:44.67), while Irishman Mark English was third (1:44.76).

McBride, the Canadian record holder from Windsor, Ont., crashed during some scrambling on the first lap straight of his race. He looked up at the fading ground before getting to his feet and finishing. But he never made up the 50 meter gap on the rest of the peloton.

The Canadian team appealed, but it was rejected.

“Honestly, it all happened so fast, a lot of pushing, a lot of shoving,” said McBride, who thought he might have been pushed or tripped over someone’s leg.

When the 28-year-old – who said he was still “shocked” moments after the race – fell, his first thoughts were to get up and finish, in case there was a chance of succeed in his call.

“I can’t really tell you how I feel, but I’m still proud of my journey,” he said. “It’s just unfortunate because I would really like the opportunity to show off my fitness. Let’s just hope I get the opportunity.”

Unfortunately, he won’t.

Elizabeth Gleadle of Vancouver, an 11-time national champion, qualified for the women’s javelin final with a throw of 60.38 metres, seventh best in qualifying.

Haruka Kitaguchi of Japan was the top qualifier (64.32).


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Pat Graham, The Associated Press

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