Perth Chemutai creates history for Uganda with women’s 3,000m steeplechase gold
Uganda’s Peruth Chemutai has won gold in the 3,000m steeplechase with a time on 9:01.45 at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
Chemutai, who created history by becoming Uganda’s first woman to win an Olympic medal, edged out Team USA’s Courtney Frerichs (silver) and Kenya’s Hyvin Kiyeng (bronze).
“I am feeling great. Today I made it. It is the first time Uganda gets the gold medal in 3,000m steeplechase. I am so happy to be an Olympic champion,” the 22-year-old said.
It was a race that threw the rule book out the window, in terms of how one usually paces themselves for this event.
And in an Olympic final that featured eight of the top nine performance so far in 2021, it was hotly contested.
While Chemutai led at the 1,000m mark, Frerichs made the brave move to break away early and create a sizeable gap between herself and the Ugandan runner.
But Chemutai made her move as the bell rang for the final lap, chasing down Frerichs before crossing the line in a new national record and writing herself into the history books.
“I thought about going in the front of the race, but the American girl (Frerichs) came in front. With 500m [remaining], I just decided to go, and I went hard until the finish,” Chemutai said.
“I definitely ran the kick out of my own legs,” said Frerichs of making the decision to go out early. “I was obviously hoping to hold on for the win but I’m super happy about it and have no regrets.”
All of Uganda’s 10 medals at the Olympic Games have come from men. The nations two Olympic golds before tonight had come from John Akii-Bua at Munich 1972 and marathon runner Stephen Kiprotich at London 2012.