'Incredible': Athletics world erupts over never-before-seen finish

Conseslus Kipruto of Kenya, gold, and Lamecha Girma of Ethiopia, silver, cross the finish line in the Men's 3000 metres Steeplechase final. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The men’s steeplechase at the World Championships had the crowd on their feet after a photo finish was needed to separate the gold and silver medalists.

Conseslus Kipruto and Lamecha Girma rambled over barriers and through the water for more than 3,000 metres, and as they approached the finish, there was nothing separating them.

‘SO SAD’: Athletics world championships rocked by 'horrible' moment

With fans in the jam-packed crowd screaming, they sprawled as they reached the line.

A photo finish showed Kipruto had crossed in 8 minutes, 1.35 seconds.

That was one-hundredth of a second faster than Grima.

“I was praying, 'Let me be faster than him,’” Kipruto said. “I waited. I prayed. I saw the screen and saw it said 'Conseslus.' It was my name. I was definitely happy.”

The finish was the closest in steeplechase history at the World Championships.

Morocco's Soufiane El Bakkali completed the podium by taking the bronze.

"The Ethiopians really pushed hard because they knew I was kicking," Kipruto said. "They had their plans before we started the race and I had plans for us Kenyans to push hard.

"For me in championships I always believe experience matters a lot, it is not about shape.

"Steeplechase is normally a Kenyan event it belongs to Kenyans but nowadays there are competitors from around the world."

Conseslus Kipruto of Kenya celebrates winning gold in the Men's 3000 metres Steeplechase final during day eight of 17th IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 at Khalifa International Stadium on October 04, 2019 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)

Kenya’s dominance continues

Kipruto's victory extended Kenya's dominant run to seven consecutive men's world steeplechase gold medals going back to the 2007 championships in Japan.

But the 24-year-old Kipruto only managed to keep his country on top by the smallest of margins.

Trailing the 18-year-old Girma over the final barrier, the Kenyan tapped into his experience and timed his kick to perfection to beat his rival to the wire by millimetres.

"This is my first major international competition and I am very happy," Girma said. "In the last 50 meters I was thinking I am going to win. Before the race I did not expect to win.

"I am very thrilled to be the first Ethiopian to medal at the world championships."