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Rio Olympics 2016, Athletics: Lalita Babar storms into Women's 3000m steeplechase final, Sudha Singh eliminated

Rohith Nair
FEATURED COLUMNIST
News
Modified 20 Dec 2019, 07:47 IST
Lalita Babar 3000m steeplechase Rio 2016 Olympics
India’s Lalita Babar (L) qualified for the 3000m steeplechase final

India’s women’s 3000m steeplechase runners had a mixed outing in on Day 8 of the Rio Olympics 2016 as Lalita Babar qualified for the final but Sudha Singh failed to make the cut. Lalita even managed to shatter the Indian national record on her way to the final. 

Lalita was the first Indian to compete and she took part in Heat 2. She started strong and also took the lead halfway through the race in spite of suffering a fall. She held on to the lead for a while as the athletes ran in the Rio sun but after the 2500-metre mark she started to fade.

It wasn’t until the final lap that Beatrice Chepkoech accelerated to take the lead. The Kenyan runner simply left her competition behind as she surged past Lalita, USA’s Emma Coburn and Tunisia’s Habiba Ghribi. By the time they reached the last 150m, she was well clear of the pack.

At this stage, Lalita simply didn’t have the energy reserves to come back and finish in the top three. Beatrice finished first in the heat with a time of 9:17.55 while Emma finished second with a time of 9:18.12 while Habiba finished third with a time of 9:18.71.

The top three from each heat automatically qualify for the final. But the next six fastest women also move to the final. Lalita’s time of 9:19.76 was much better than those who finished outside the top three in Heat 1 and she still stood a chance. 

Sadly, Sudha Singh could not match Lalita’s feat and finished a lowly ninth with a time of 9:43.29. The winner in the third heat was Hyvin Kiyeng Jepkemoi who finished with a time of 9:24.61. That time itself ensured that Lalita Babar qualified for the final as one of the six fastest athletes who finished outside the top three in their heat. 

Etenesh Diro 3000m steeplechase without shoe
Etenesh Diro finished the 3000m steeplechase without a shoe on her right foot

However, the story of the heats was Ethiopia’s Etenesh Diro who lost her shoe and struggled to put it back on. Losing precious time, she threw it aside and ran with only one shoe and even managed to finish in seventh place in the heat as the Rio crowd cheered her on. She got a huge ovation after she crossed the finish line as she collapsed on the track following a heroic effort. 

#CountryAthleteTime (M:SS)
1Bahrain
Ruth Jebet
9:12.62 
2Kenya
Beatrice Chepkoech 
9:17.55 
3 USA
Emma Coburn
9:18.12 
4Tunisia
Habiba Ghribi
9:18.71 
5Ethiopia
Sofia Assefa
9:18.75 
6Germany
Gesa Krause
9:19.70 
7India
Lalita Babar
9:19.76 
8 USA
QUIGLEY Colleen Quigley
9:21.82 
9Australia
HILLS Madeline Heiner Hills
9:24.16 
10Kenya
Hyvin Kiyeng Jepkemoi
9:24.61 
11Australia
Genevieve Lacaze
9:26.25 
12 USA
Courtney Frerichs
9:27.02 
13Kenya
Lydia Chebet Rotich
9:30.21 
14Canada
Genevieve Lalonde
9:30.24 
15Switzerland
Fabienne Schlumpf
9:30.54 
Published 13 Aug 2016, 18:30 IST
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