Championships streak in the 3000m Steeplechase alive for the 15th* consecutive edition, but his victory didn’t come until after one of the week’s most ferociously entertaining contests on the track.
As expected, he and teammate Vincent Kipyegon Ruto, the reigning world U18 champion, controlled the pace for most of the race, taking turns with the lead for the first two kilometres, Kirui bringing the field through the first 1000 metres in 2:51.39 and Ruto through 2000 metres in 5:35.00.
With three laps remaining, was essentially a four-man race for the medals, with Ethiopian Getnet Wale and Eritrean Yemane Haileselassie joining the Kenyan pair in the hunt.
Shadowing the pair closest, Wale looked to be in strong position to make his move over the final lap – until he reached the water jump on the penultimate lap. Coming off the barrier, he slipped and tumbled as he tried to leave the water pit, seemingly tripping his way out of contention.
While he recovered, Haileselassie moved past him and into third, off on a solo chase of the Kenyan duo.
But Wale wasn’t finished. He quickly made up ground, fighting his way back into contact with the leaders as they approached the last bend for the final time. Momentum appeared to be on his side as they approached the water jump where Wale, just about the pass Ruto, fell once again in nearly the identical spot.