Evan Jager closed his season with a third-place finish in the 3000m steeplechase at the IAAF Diamond League final in Brussels on Friday night, the 28-year-old recovering from a late-race fall to reach the finish in 8:11.71.
On a cool, damp night in the Belgian capital, the early pace was strong, with pacemaker Haron Lagat towing the field through 1000m in 2:40.27. Soon after, as the pace began to slow, Jager moved to the front in search of his first sub-eight-minute clocking, and he led the field through 2000m in 5:24.45. Dogging his heels all along, though, was Olympic and world champion Conseslus Kipruto of Kenya, and Morocco’s Soufiane El Bakkali, who had both beaten Jager into third at the World Championships in London last month.
Approaching the bell, El Bakkali surged past Jager, then Kipruto moved around, leaving the Nike Bowerman Track Club athlete to fight it out for third. Kipruto closed in late to pass El Bakkali right by the line to win in 8:04.73, El Bakkali second in 8:04.83. Jager’s race very nearly ended at the final water jump, the American losing his footing on landing and crashing to the track, but he quickly picked himself up and summoned all his spirit and strength to outkick compatriot Stanley Kebenei to take third in 8:11.71.