Kemboi Clowns Around But Still Runs Sub-8 in Paris Meet

The men’s 3000m Steeplechase fulfilled its promises to be a thrilling battle between Kenya’s 2012 Olympic champion Ezekiel Kemboi and his compatriot Paul Koech along with France’s double Olympic silver medallist Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad.

The trio were together at 2000m when the pacemaker Haron Lagat dropped out and the clock read 5:21.10.

Koech then led for the next 600m but at the bell, the Frenchman, to the massive roars of the crowd, went to the front.

However, Kemboi is a dangerous man on the last lap and took the lead at 250 metres with three barriers remaining and never relinquished his lead before coming home in 7:59.03, the first time under eight minutes this year and a meeting record.

Indeed, he might even have gone slightly faster were it not for some familiar show boating about 20 metres from the line, drifting into the second lane with his arms held wide.

Mekhissi-Benabbad held his form to set a European record of 8:00.09, an improvement on the former continental standard of 8.01.19, which had been held since 2009 by his compatriot Bouabdellah Tahri.

Czech Republic’s 2012 Olympic Games bronze medallist Zuzana Hejnova took her 400m Hurdles unbeaten streak to seven races this year with a commanding performance from the gun.

She was clearly ahead after just three hurdles and powered her way home in a national record of 53.23.

Great Britain’s Perri Shakes-Drayton, on Hejnova’s immediate inside in the second lane, was towed to a time of 53.96 in second place.

Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba, sixth at the Olympic Games last summer and still just 20, is the fastest 800m runner in the world this year with 1:56.72 and her talent showed as she hit the front with 50 metres to go, going around the USA’s Alysia Montano to win in 1:57.26, a time only she has beaten this year.

Morocco’s Malika Akkaoui followed in Niyonsaba’s footsteps as Montano weakened to finish second in a personal best of 1:57.64, with the US champion third in 1:57.75.

– IAAF