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Women Compete in New Event at World Athletics Championships


While the event itself is not new, women's steeplechase has been contested for the first time at the World Athletics Championships in Finland.

Docas Inzikuru of Uganda ran and jumped to a winning time of nine minutes, 18.24 seconds in the inaugural running of women's steeplechase at the world championships. After previously specializing in the longer 5000-meter event, Inzikuru is thrilled to run the steeplechase.

"It is a very great change, being as a new event for the World Championships for the first time. Because I found this race, the three-thousand meter steeplechase for women, is the easiest way you can run a little bit faster," Docas Inzikuru says.

The 3000-meter race covers seven and one half laps of the track. In the first half lap, runners encounter no barriers. In each subsequent lap, the runners encounter five hurdles, which do not fall over if hit like regular track hurdles. Some runners actually step on top of them to get past. Four hurdles are on level ground, the fifth hurdle at the top of the second turn is the water jump. The pit is deeper next to the hurdle and gradually levels to the surface of the track more than three and a half meters away.

Runners with more jumping ability are rewarded since they land in shallow water or clear the distance completely.

Although she placed ninth in the race, American Elizabeth Jackson enjoyed being a part of athletics history.

"Once I got through the trials, a lot of the pressure was off," she says. "And I had the best day. I was probably the most relaxed I have ever been for a race. And I felt positive. I walked out and saw the stadium and I was so excited to be here. Overall, I am just excited that I was part of it and it was a lot of fun."

The men have their turn in the steeplechase final on Tuesday.

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