Aug 18, 2008 at 07:49pm IST

Kipruto extends Kenyan steeplechase dominance

Beijing: Reigning world champion Brimin Kipruto ensured Kenya's dominance of the Olympics 3000m steeplechase continued by outsprinting the field to claim gold here on Monday.

Kipruto's victory meant Kenya have won seven consecutive steeplechase titles dating back to the Los Angeles Games in 1984.

The 23-year-old, a silver medallist from the Athens Games four years ago, clocked a winning time of 8min 10.24sec, well below Qatari Saif Saeed Shaheen's world record of 7:53.63.

FOLLOWING THE TRADITION: Kenya's Brimin Kiprop Kipruto (L) celebrates after winning the men's 3000meter steeplechase final during the athletics competitions.

France's Mahiedine Mekhissi took silver in 8:10.49, with Kenyan Richard Kipkemboi Mateelong claiming bronze, a further 0.12sec adrift.

Defending Olympic champion Ezekiel Kemboi, also of Kenya, finished in seventh spot, more than five seconds off the pace.

Kemboi, also a silver medallist in the last three world championships, set the early pace alongside Ugandan Benjamin Kiplagat.

Swededn's Somali-born Mustafa Mohamed took up the reins but with four-and-a-half laps to go, American Anthony Famiglietti upped the pace of a slow race.

Famiglietti faded badly after that as Mohamed, Kemboi and Mekhissi moved to the fore.

The last lap saw Kipruto burst through with team-mate Mateelong, the world bronze medallist from Osaka last year, and Mekhissi.

Kipruto held off the Frenchman in the final fast and furious sprint for the line, with Mateelong taking bronze.