Athletics

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Chaotic steeplechase race caused by mistake from Diamond League organisers

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Yesterday's women's 3000m steeplechase at the Diamond League meeting in Oslo descended into complete and utter anarchy.

For the first three laps of the race, the steeple barriers were set to men's heights instead of women's, meaning that participants in the race had to jump over obstacles six inches higher than they're used to.

Barriers are usually set to 30 inches in height for female competition, yet organisers failed to realise they were actually set to 36 inches, the typical height for male competition.

Runners at the front of the pack hurdled the barrier with ease, but it was those at the back who struggled to overcome the obstacle.

Jamaica's Aisha Praught, champion at the Commonwealth Games earlier this year, chose to simply barge through the barrier instead of hurdling it in an attempt to avoid muscle injury.

America's World Champion Emma Coburn was the first to point out the error to officials, but it wasn't until the third lap that something was done to fix it.

Officials raced onto the track to try and lower the barrier to the correct height. As runners approached on the third lap, only half of it was adjusted.

They then shoved the higher half off the track, so runners had to jump over a hurdle that was not wide enough, but at the correct height.

Kenya's Hyvin Kiyeng emerged victorious at the end of the race, but Coburn followed closely, trailing by just 0.07 seconds after a final surge.

She didn't hesitate in venting her frustrations at the end of the race, saying: "I'm incredibly frustrated that we had to hurdle the men's barrier on the back three times - we were waving around and it wasn't solved until my husband went out onto the track to tell the officials.

"It panicked me but I tried to stay calm and feel as easy as possible from then on."

Topics:
Diamond League
Commonwealth Games
Athletics

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