Tokyo – Maruša Mišmaš Zrimšek placed sixth in the women’s 3000-meter steeplechase at the Olympic Games in Tokyo on Wednesday after securing the finals on Sunday. By clocking 9:14.84 at what are her debut Olympics, she set a new Slovenian record for the second time this year.
Mišmaš Zrimšek put up a great run to achieve the best achievement of her career, also beating world champion and world-record holder Beatrice Chepkoech from Kenya, who finished seventh. Gold went to Peruth Chemutai from Uganda, who finished 13.39 seconds ahead of Mišmaš Zrimšek.
The 26-year-old Slovenian track-and-field athlete improved her previous personal best and Slovenia’s national record of 9:16.82, which she set with sixth place at the Diamond League in Doha in May.
She kept in the lead group throughout the first kilometre today, while falling slightly behind in the second kilometre, but then sped up to catch the first nine and then six.
While she admitted in a statement after the race that she had been eyeing a medal, she said she had just run out of strength.
“I went all out, coming to the finish line ‘dead’. I hardly managed to jump over the last three hurdles, my legs were hurting very much already. This is not because of the heat, which I can take quite well, I simply wanted to be close to the best, and for this to happen, I’d used all my strength.”
She said that for a while she had been even third and fourth, so a medal seemed like a reality, “but also without it, I’m proud”.
An injury prevented Mišmaš Zrimšek, a biochemistry student, to appear at the Rio Olympics five years ago, but she showed her form at the World Championships in Doha in 2019, where she placed 12th. She also did well at European championships.
Today’s achievement has given her a fresh impetus to continue her career and hard training, and she intends to compete until the 2024 Olympics in Paris or even longer.