All Athletics Menu

2008 Olympic Games Beijing - Men's 3000 m steeple



Host City: Beijing, China Format: Top four in each heat and next three fastest advanced to the final.
Date Started: August 16, 2008  
Date Finished: August 18, 2008  
(Competitors: 38; Countries: 26; Finalists: 15)  
    Venue(s): Beijing National Stadium, Beijing
Overview by IAAF    2008_olympic_stadium.jpg
The world’s top steeplechaser, Paul Kipsiele Koech, missed Beijing after placing fourth in the Kenyan trials when he fell at the final waterjump. Nevertheless, the Kenyans were still favoured to sweep the medals. The first and last heats provided no fast losers, the slowest of whom (Moldova’s Ion Luchianov 8:18.97) ran in the second heat, won by Jarso (8:16.88). Ruben Ramolefi (RSA) led a slowly paced race through the first kilometre (2:46.97) of the final, and the pace stayed slow through the second third of the race (5:33.84 at 2000m). Mustafa Mohamed (SWE) then upped the pace, from 66.2 to 63.8 in the penultimate lap. The bell was reached in 7:11.0 with Kemboi leading, and Kipruto (7:12.0) in seventh place. In a frenetic final lap, their positions reversed, with Kipruto taking the lead with 100m to go. Battling him all the way was the surprising Mekhissi Benabbad; the big (190/79Kg) Frenchman lost out only by a metre to Kipruto, with Matelong a further 4m back. The winner ran the last 100m in 13.5.
Summary by      
Kenya had won the gold medal in this event at every Olympics at which they had participated since 1968 – they boycotted 1976 and 1980. The defending champion Ezekiel Kemboi was back as was 2007 World Champion Brimin Kipruto, with Richard Mateelong, 2007 World bronze medalist, their third steepler. A medal sweep seemed possible as they had done in 1992 and 2004. The pace was not fast enough to drop any of the favorites in the final. At the bell everybody had a chance with Kipruto seventh as they started the final lap. But he moved up on the backstretch and was third at the water jump, trailing Matelong and France's unheralded Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad. Kipruto surged ahead as they exited the water and seemed on his way to an easy gold. But the unknown Mekhissi-Benabbad did not fold and closed within 0.15 seconds at the tape, Kipruto getting the gold and the Frenchman the silver. Matelong held on for another bronze, but the Kenyan sweep did not materialize as Kemboi faded to seventh. For Kenya, their dominance in this event is unprecedented in recent Olympic track & field history. Going back to 1968, they had competed nine times (of 11), and won nine times. They had swept the medals twice (1992/2004), and had finished one-two in 1968, 1972, 1988, 1996, 2000, and 2008. Of the 27 medals available to them since 1968, they had won 19.


Prior to this competition, the existing world and Olympic records were as follows.

World record Qatar Saif Saaeed Shaheen (QAT) 7:53.63 Brussels, Belgium 3 September 2004
Olympic record  Julius Kariuki (KEN) 8:05.51 Seoul, South Korea 30 September 1988

No new world or Olympic records were set for this event.


The Men's 3000 metres steeplechase at the 2008 Olympic Games took place on 16–18 August at the Beijing Olympic Stadium.

The qualifying standards were 8:24.60 (A standard) and 8:32.00 (B standard).

Brimin Kipruto, who won the silver medal at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, became the seventh Kenyan runner in a row to win this event at the Olympics. In total Kenya won nine gold medals in the 3000m steeplechase since 1968, but none of those medalists was ever able to defend his title.

Men's 3000m Steeplechase - FINAL


What was supposed to be a Kenyan cakewalk turned into anything but thanks to one Mahledine Mekhissi-Benabbad of France.

Now Mekhissi-Benabbad did not strike gold, but the gutsy and unexpected nature of his silver medal means it will be the previously unheralded 23-year-old rather than the gold medallist, Brimin Kipruto, that will probably linger longer in the memory.

We should, of course, also hail the achievements of the remarkable East African nation who secured a seventh straight Olympic gold medal and have won every steeplechase title they have competed in since 1968 - they boycotted the 1976 and 1980 Games.

Kipruto, the World champion, bided his time and was back in sixth at the bell but timed his run to perfection to take the lead at the final barrier and hold off a late surge from Mekhissi-Benabbad.

Kipruto stopped the clock in a season's best of 8:10.34 - 0.15 ahead of the French athlete.

Behind, Richard Mateelong added Olympic bronze in 8:11.01 to the World bronze he won in Osaka last year.

Kipruto summed up his suprise at Mekhissi-Benabbad's performance by adding: "I didn't know the French guy before."

Going into the final Ezekiel Kemboi, the defending champion, had cast doubts on his ability to retain his Olympic crown by running a strange tactical heat to scrape into the final in the fourth and last automatic qualifying position.

However, it was Kemboi who raced to the front from the gun, although he struggled to impose his will on the race as Sweden's Mustafa Mohamed and briefly, South African Ruben Ramolefi swept into the lead, the latter taking them through the 1km mark in 2:46.97.

Mohamed returned to the front with Kemboi in close attention, although Mateelong and Kipruto preferred to hold a position in mid-division.

Three-and-a-half laps out US champion Anthony Famiglietti burst to the front only for Mohamed to re-establish control at the head of the field, passing 2km in 5:33.84 with virtually the entire 15-man field still in contention.

It was clear, however, that Mohamed did not inject enough pace in the race to avoid anything other than a last lap burn up for the gold.

The Swede dropped out of the medal picture and Kemboi tracked by Mateelong, the French duo of Mekhissi-Benabbad and Bouabdellah Tahri, Ethiopia's Yakob Jarso and Kipruto all looked to fill the podium at the bell.

Kemboi quickly faded out of the medal shake up, although Mateelong and Mekhissi-Benabbad were close in pursuit and Kipruto was starting to move through the field like a knife through butter.

At the water jump Kipruto moved ominously into the frame alongside Mateelong and Mekhissi-Benabbad and by the final barrier the World champion held a slight advantage from his compatriot with Mekhissi-Benabbad in third, appearing to slightly stumble at the final barrier.

However, the 2007 European Under-23 champion burst past Mateelong and then set his sights on Kipruto.

Alas, on this occasion, the 22-year-old Kipruto held on to be crowned Olympic champion. Mekhissi-Benabbad earned France's first Olympic Steeplechase medal since Joseph Mahmoud won the same colour medal at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. Mateelong took the bronze.

Ethiopia's Yakob Jarso finished fourth in a national record of 8:13.47 to hint at his country's future potential at an event they have yet to master in the same way they have the 5000m and 10,000m. Their only medal at this discipline came in 1980, a bronze to Eshetu Tura.

Tahri finished fifth in 8:14.79 and Youcef Abdi of Australia, the 2002 Commonwealth 1500m bronze medallist, took sixth in a PB of 8:16.36.

Kemboi, faded to seventh in 8:16.38. Mohamed, the long-time leader, wound up tenth in 8:20.69. The first ever Moldovan men's Olympic finalist, Ion Luchianov, was 12th in 8:27.82.

For Mekhissi-Benabbad it had been a remarkable peformance. Last season he was crowned European Under-23 champion and also clocked a personal best of 8:14.22 but this season he has quietly progressed.

He landed the European Cup title in Annecy in June and after bagging the French title he was an impressive winner in Monaco (8:17.22), the last major international competition before Beijing.

Nonetheless, few would have predicted with any confidence he could slice nearly four seconds from his lifetime best in the Olympic final to take a silver medal. Victory and the plaudits, though, go to Kenya, again.

Steve Landells for the IAAF

3000 m steeple Men     Final 18 August      
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 8.10.34     Brimin Kipruto Kenya KEN 31 Jul 85  
2 8.10.49     Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad France FRA 15 Mar 85  
3 8.11.01     Richard Mateelong Kenya KEN 14 Oct 83  
4 8.13.47     Yacob Jarso Ethiopia ETH 5 Feb 88 NR
5 8.14.79     Bouabdellah Tahri France FRA 20 Dec 78  
6 8.16.36     Youcef Abdi Australia AUS 7 Dec 77  
7 8.16.38     Ezekiel Kemboi Kenya KEN 25 May 82  
8 8.16.59     Ali Abubaker Kamal Qatar QAT 8 Nov 83  
9 8.20.27     Benjamin Kiplagat Uganda UGA 4 Mar 89  
10 8.20.69     Mustafa Mohamed Sweden SWE 1 Mar 79  
11 8.21.59     Tareq Mubarak Taher Bahrain BRN 24 Mar 84  
12 8.27.82     Ivan Lukyanov Moldova MDA 31 Jan 81  
13 8.31.21     Anthony Famiglietti United States USA 8 Nov 78  
14 8.34.58     Ruben Ramolefi South Africa RSA 17 Jul 78  
15 9.02.06     Abdelkader Hachlaf Morocco MAR 3 Jul 79  


Intermediate Athlete Country Mark
1000m Ruben Ramolefi  South Africa 2:46.97
2000m Mustafa Mohamed  Sweden 5:33.84

Men's 3000m Steeplechase First round


Now the heats of the men's 3000m Steeplechase are supposed to be predictable with the Kenyans demonstrating their unquestioned pedigree in the event, right?

Well, not quite, as a slightly bizarre heat two would demonstrate.

Within a lap and a half of the heat something quite unsual was going on. US champion Anthony Famiglietti burst into the lead and held a 20m advantage.

 Then, we cast our eyes back, a long way back, to where Ezekiel Kemboi, the Olympic champion from Kenya, was happy to jog 20m adrift of the main pack.Strange, to say the least.

Famiglietti stretched his advantage to 40m with three laps remaining from the pursuing pack led by Sweden's Mustafa Mohamed.

Meanwhile, Kemboi, who is bidding to become the first man since Finland's Volmari Iso-Hollo in the 1930s to win back-to-back Olympic titles had woken from his slumber and joined the main pack.

The American's lead was cut to just 10m as he hit the bell and with the chasing pack closing you feared the worst for the brave Famiglietti.

However, while Ethiopia's Yakob Jarso swept into the lead and took the heat win in a new personal best of 8:16.88 - 0.07 ahead of France's Mahiedine Mekhissi-B, Famiglietti stubbornly held on to take the third automatic qualifying position in a new PB of 8:17.34.

Kemboi, meanwhile, looked short of his best. He had to work hard down the finishing straight to secure the fourth and final automatic spot in 8:17.55 raising one or two question marks in his ability to prosper in Monday's final.

The heat also served up the three fastest losers with Mohamed (8:17.55), Youcef Abdi of Australia (8.17.80) and Ion Luchianov setting a Moldovan record in 8:18.97 in seventh all booking a final place.

In heat one the major players all cruised through to round two.

France's experienced Boubadellah Tahri and Kenyan born Bahraini Tareq Mubarek Taher shared a healthy pace at the head of the field for much of the race with world champion Brimin Kipruto preferring to hang back in fifth of sixth place.

Tahri took the heat win in 8:16.88 from Kipruto, who briefly caused alarm when he stumbled at the final water jump when a few metres adrift of the fourth placed athlete. Nonetheless, he recovered to finish strongly to finish second in 8:23.53.

Morocco's Abdelkader Hachlaf (8:23.62) and Taher (8:23.66) crossed the line third and fourth, respectively, to book their place in the final.

In heat three South Africa's Ruben Ramolefi was rewarded for a resourceful front running display to take victory in a personal best of 8:19.86.

The 2007 World bronze medallist Richard Mateeling, the least experienced of the Kenyan trio, comfortably qualified second just 0.01 behind. The other two automatic qualifiers were Uganda's World Junior silver medallist Benjamin Kiplagat (8:20.22) ahead of Abubaker Ali Kamal of Qatar (8:21.85). 

3000 m steeple Men     Heat 1 16 August      
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 8.23.42   Q Bouabdellah Tahri France FRA 20 Dec 78  
2 8.23.53   Q Brimin Kipruto Kenya KEN 31 Jul 85  
3 8.23.62   Q Abdelkader Hachlaf Morocco MAR 3 Jul 79  
4 8.23.66   Q Tareq Mubarak Taher Bahrain BRN 24 Mar 84  
5 8.23.82     Nahom Mesfin Ethiopia ETH 3 Jun 89  
6 8.26.85     Ildar Minshin Russia RUS 5 Feb 85  
7 8.29.37     Tomasz Szymkowiak Poland POL 5 Jul 83  
8 8.29.74     Rabia Makhloufi Algeria ALG 11 Nov 86  
9 8.29.80     Yoshitaka Iwamizu Japan JPN 20 Jun 79  
10 8.37.65     Valērijs Žolnerovičs Latvia LAT 19 Apr 85  
11 8.39.11     Alberto Paulo Portugal POR 3 Oct 85  
12 8.58.50     Rubén Palomeque Spain ESP 14 Aug 80  
  DNF     Matteo Villani Italy ITA 29 Aug 82  
3000 m steeple Men     Heat 2 16 August      
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 8.16.88   Q Yacob Jarso Ethiopia ETH 5 Feb 88  
2 8.16.95   Q Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad France FRA 15 Mar 85  
3 8.17.34   Q Anthony Famiglietti United States USA 8 Nov 78  
4 8.17.55   Q Ezekiel Kemboi Kenya KEN 25 May 82  
5 8.17.80   Q Mustafa Mohamed Sweden SWE 1 Mar 79  
6 8.17.97   Q Youcef Abdi Australia AUS 7 Dec 77  
7 8.18.97   Q Ivan Lukyanov Moldova MDA 31 Jan 81 NR
8 8.21.24     Boštjan Buč Slovenia SLO 13 Apr 80  
9 8.23.09     Brahim Taleb Morocco MAR 16 Feb 85  
10 8.36.06     Andrew Lemoncello Great Britain GBR 12 Oct 82  
11 8.36.66     Bill Nelson United States USA 11 Sep 84  
12 8.37.37     José Luis Blanco Spain ESP 3 Jun 75  
13 9.09.73     Ali Ahmed Al-Amri Saudi Arabia KSA 28 Dec 87  
3000 m steeple Men     Heat 3 16 August      
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 8.19.86   Q Ruben Ramolefi South Africa RSA 17 Jul 78  
2 8.19.87   Q Richard Mateelong Kenya KEN 14 Oct 83  
3 8.20.22   Q Benjamin Kiplagat Uganda UGA 4 Mar 89  
4 8.21.85   Q Ali Abubaker Kamal Qatar QAT 8 Nov 83  
5 8.23.19     Eliseo Martín Spain ESP 5 Nov 73  
6 8.27.45     Hamid Ezzine Morocco MAR 5 Oct 83  
7 8.27.91     Vincent Zouaoui-Dandrieux France FRA 12 Oct 80  
8 8.28.27     Roba Gari Ethiopia ETH 12 Apr 82  
9 8.33.26     Josh McAdams United States USA 26 Mar 80  
10 8.36.29     Pavel Potapovich Russia RUS 26 Nov 80  
11 8.37.99     Pieter Desmet Belgium BEL 7 Jun 83  
12 8.44.70     Halil Akkaş Turkey TUR 1 Jul 83  
13 9.05.02     Itai Maggidi Israel ISR 9 Jan 81  




Real time web analytics, Heat map tracking

Olympic Games



All Events


Athletics in Olympic Games




You are here: Home Athletics Olympic Games (Athletics) 2008 Beijing 2008 Olympic Games Beijing - Men's 3000 m steeple