Russia’s Gulnara Galkina, winner of the first women’s Olympic 3000m Steeplechase title will defend her title. She has three Steeplechase World records including the only sub-nine (8:58.81) which won her the title in Beijing four years ago. Will she be able to return to form after taking some time to have a child in 2010? She only has a season’s best of 9:24. 60 and was one of the last to qualify from the prelims.
Galkina’s teammate, Yuliya Zaripova took last year’s championship leading the whole time. She has a PR of 9:07.03 which is the second fastest in the field. Kenya’s Milcah Chemos leads the World rankings with the personal best 9:07:14 she achieved at the Oslo Samsung Diamond League. She will be looking to improve on placement from last year’s world championships. The Ethiopian pair of Sofia Assefa and Hiwot Ayalew also have season’s bests of 9:09.00 and 9:09.61 and will likely challenge. If Galkina is in shape and Chemos and Zaripova is willing to push the pace, we could possibly see another sub 9 steeple.
To have two Americans in the final of the steeplechase is an accomplishment. Emma Coburn and Bridget Franek will be the underdogs and will hope to finish as well as their male counterparts. We will have to see if either can beat Jenny Simpson’s fifth place finish at the 2009 World Championships. Both are young and we should see them back for 2016. The steeplechase final is today at 3:05 CST will be streamed online on NBCOlympics.com