Ruth Jebet blows away the competition to win but narrowly missed out on the world record
Teenager Ruth Jebet won Bahrain's first ever Olympic gold medal on Monday, blowing away the competition in the women's 3,000 metres steeplechase but narrowly missing out on the world record.
The 19-year-old stormed into the lead after a few laps and set a blistering pace to win in eight minutes 59.75 seconds, shy of the 8:58.81 world record set by Russia's Gulnara Galkina at the 2008 Beijing Games.
"I admit it was too easy for me but nobody told me about the record. I wanted the gold medal," Jebet said.
Galkina and Kenyan-born Jebet, who was the world junior champion, are the only two women to have run a sub-nine minute time.
Kenya's Hyvin Kiyeng Jepkemoi, who won the world title in Beijing last year, was almost 50 metres behind in second place.
"I am so happy," said Jepkemoi. "The last two laps were really hard. I just tried to stay strong and see if I could catch her."
American Emma Coburn won United States' first ever medal in the steeplechase as she grabbed bronze and a new national record.
"I feel very honoured," Coburn said.
She is not from Bahrain - she is Kenyan. If it came down to buying your Olympic medals then the whole reason for the games has been lost. I disagree with this practice. How can Bahrainis and for that matter several GCC countries support this practice. It is the same as performance enhancing drags.
It been going on for years and countries all over the world "encourage" athletes to apply for citizenship so you can't really blame GCC nations playing by the same rules as the rest. The first one I can remember was Zola Budd who had a British passport fast-tracked so she could avoid the apartheid sanctions and run for Great Britain at the 1984 Olympics.
I for one am not supportive of athletes or any other people receiving passports on a 'special basis'. To be honest I felt no happiness not am I proud that this person won as we have nothing in common. In my opinion for the Olympics the rules should be changed to say only people who are born into a particular citizenship can compete. People who are naturalized or otherwise given citizenships purely for the sake of the games cheapens the games. We are a young country by world standards however I just have to question the ethos of this when we have more pressing matters at home like social housing and unemployment to spend money sending athletes to compete only for the benefit of boasting elites.
It was a nice gesture for Jebet to win Gold for a country that has given her so much including free education. This is contrary to my country Kenya that rarely appreciates the athletes, or not at all. Thank you Bahrain.