Russia’s Zaripova first in 3000m steeplechase

Russia's Yulia Zaripova (AFP Photo / Franck Fife)
Yulia Zaripova has won Russia’s first athletics gold in London, leaving her rivals in the dust in the women’s 3000-meter steeplechase.

­Zaripova led from start to finish to triumph with a personal best result of 9 minutes and 6.72 seconds.

“It was an easy race,” she told Sportbox.ru. “I ran at a comfortable tempo and was saving strength. My rivals tried to pass me, but I held them off to avoid chasing them later. The coach motivated me greatly for the finish. He said I was good on 1500 meters this season, so I’ll be able to complete the distance in style. The main thing was to run smartly.”

“I can’t describe my feelings. To understand this you have to go to this result step by step and put a lot of effort into it. Deal with obstacles not only on the track, but in daily life as well,” the 26-year-old added.

Tunisia‘s Habiba Ghribi clocked 9 minutes 08.37 seconds to grab silver, with Sofia Assefa of Ethiopia completing the podium.  

Meanwile, world record holder Gulnara Galkina of Russia failed to reach the finish line.

Another athletics medal came through Evgenia Kolodko, who was third in the women’s shot put.

The 22-year-old was fifth before her final attempt, and a throw of 20.48 meters moved her to bronze.

“I don’t understand anything now,”
Kolodko told Sportbox.ru. “I came into the sector and told myself: ‘Zhenya, you know how to get into the right mood’. I don’t know what happened afterwards. It seems all my training and hard work weren’t in vain.”

“My dad, who coaches me, said I can get a good result. He was right,” she added.

Nadzeya Ostapchuk of Belarus won the event with the result of 21.3 6 meters, pushing New Zealand's Valerie Adams into second place.

The three gold medals Russia won on the day propelled the country to sixth place in overall Olympic medals, with 7 golds, 17 silver and 18 bronze.

Russia′s Yuliya Zaripova (R), Ethiopia′s Hiwot Ayalew (C) and Ethiopia′s Sofia Assefa compete in the women′s 3000m steeplechase final at the athletics event of the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 6, 2012 in London (AFP Photo / Jewel Samad AFP Photo / Eric Feferberg)
Russia's Yuliya Zaripova (R), Ethiopia's Hiwot Ayalew (C) and Ethiopia's Sofia Assefa compete in the women's 3000m steeplechase final at the athletics event of the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 6, 2012 in London (AFP Photo / Jewel Samad AFP Photo / Eric Feferberg)
Russia′s Yuliya Zaripova (front) competes in the women′s 3000m steeplechase final at the athletics event of the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 6, 2012 in London (AFP Photo / Adrian Dennis)
Russia's Yuliya Zaripova (front) competes in the women's 3000m steeplechase final at the athletics event of the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 6, 2012 in London (AFP Photo / Adrian Dennis)
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