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Hurdle too far for Ruben

Ruben Ramolefi was unable to break the stranglehold of the Kenyans in the 3000m steeplechase, but will have been deeply disappointed after finishing second last in the final at the IAAF World Championships in Berlin on Tuesday night.

There had been much talk beforehand of how the South African, a late developer it has been said, could challenge the world order. However, on the biggest stage he was cruelly exposed as he crossed the line in 8min 32.54sec, in a captivating race won by Ezekiel Kemboi in 8:00.43.

The Frenchman Bouabdellah Tahri was able to prevent a Kenyan 1-2-3 by dipping on the line in a sprint finish (all first four finishers went under the 8:02 that Ramolefi had predicted would make the podium) but in reality he never looked like breaking the tradition.

Ramolefi, a member of the 2012 Opex Elite Squad, bravely picked up the gauntlet from the start and led the field through 1000m in 2:41.90, which was on pace for 8min. The six-times South African champion however had neither the support in the race, nor the legs to be able to go quicker than the 8:11.63 personal best that he set this year.

The race developed into the usual Kenyan benefit that one has come to expect, with the main interest being whether they could make it a 1-2-3, or whether the towering Tahri could break that dominance.

Earlier┬áAfrican champion Thuso Mpuang bowed out at the quarter-final stage of the men’s 200m sprints with a 20.87 run in the last of the four races. He crossed the line fifth in the race won by Panama’s Alonso Edward (20.33).

World record holder Usain Bolt again eased his way through to the semi-finals, albeit in the slowest of the four quarter-finals, in 20.41.