Athletics-Jeruto claims steeplechase gold, Feng Bin wins women’s discus

EUGENE, Ore. (Reuters) – Norah Jeruto set a World Championships record en route to winning the women’s 3,000 metres steeplechase gold while China’s Feng Bin outdid Olympic champion Valerie Allman in the discus final in Eugene, Oregon on Wednesday.

Jeruto, who switched allegiance from Kenya to Kazakhstan earlier this year, clocked eight minutes, 53.02 seconds, the third-fastest time ever and more than five seconds better than previous winner Beatrice Chepkoech’s mark in Doha in 2019.

Werkuha Getachew set an Ethiopian record for silver, while her compatriot Mekides Abebe took bronze.

“At the starting line, I was afraid of my friends from Ethiopia,” Jeruto said of her competitors. “They are also champions like me so I was scared of them. I tried my best to win the race and it was not easy.”

In the women’s discus final, Feng’s 69.12-metres opener, a personal best, was enough to secure her victory as Croatia’s Sandra Perkovic took silver and American Allman finished with bronze. Reigning champion Yaime Perez ended in seventh place.

“I am so excited and I have to say all opponents did a very good job today,” said Feng, who finished 17th in Tokyo last year. “I did not expect this result coming to Eugene, I just wanted to show my best.”

Earlier on Wednesday, record-holder Sydney McLaughlin and fellow American Dalilah Muhammad set up a highly anticipated showdown in the women’s 400 metres hurdles final, after winning their respective heats.

American Champion Allison advanced to the men’s 400 metres final, as compatriot Michael Norman stormed to the fastest finish. World record-holder and twice world champion Wayde van Niekerk also sealed qualification.

In the women’s 400 metres, double Olympic champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo cruised to victory in her semi-final, while Dominican Republic’s Marileidy Paulino, who won silver in Tokyo, also qualified for the finals.

The United States’ relay hopes took a hit as 100 metres champion Fred Kerley pulled out of the 4×100 metres relay due to injury.

South Africa’s Caster Semenya, who was competing in the women’s 5,000 metres heats after being barred from competing in any race from 400 metres to a mile, failed to qualify for the finals after clocking a time of 15:46.12.

Semenya, a two-time Olympic champion at 800 metres, cannot compete in her preferred distance because of a World Athletics ruling saying women with high natural testosterone levels must take medication to reduce them to compete in middle-distance races.

“I am learning and I am willing to learn even more. It was hot, could not keep up with the pace, I tried to stick as much as I can,” said Semenya, who refuses to take any medication to alter her testosterone levels.

Ethiopian Letesenbet Gidey led the heats with a time of 14:52.27.

The men’s and women’s 200 metres finals will take place on Thursday, as well as the semi-finals for the men’s 800 metres.

(Reporting by Amy Tennery and Mitch Phillips in Eugene, Oregon, additional reporting by Aadi Nair in Bengaluru; editing by Christian Schmollinger)

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