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Conseslus seeks to extend steeplechase dominance

By Dennis Okeyo and IAAF | Oct 1st 2019 | 2 min read
By Dennis Okeyo and IAAF | October 1st 2019
Kenya's Conseslus Kipruto crosses the finish line in front of Kenya's Abraham Kibiwott during the athletics men's 3000m steeplechase final during the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games at the Carrara Stadium on the Gold Coast on April 13, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / SAEED KHAN

On paper, Kenya has won 12 out of 16 of the 3,000m Steeplechase world including three clean sweeps in Edmonton 2001, Osaka 2007, and Beijing 2015, a fete the country is looking to maintain as it starts title defense campaign in Doha tonight.

In a year with no single dominant force, Conseslus Kipruto may fancy his chances of retaining his title.

The Olympic gold medallist missed most of the season through injury and only made his season track debut at the end of August, placing fifth at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Paris in 8:13.75.

Kipruto, looking to sail through to the final alongside his compatriots that include world under-20 silver medallist Leonard Bett, who won the grueling Kenyan Trials,  Diamond League specialist Benjamin Kigen and Commonwealth Games bronze Abraham Kibiwott to ensure the country’s winning history is restored.

“It has been a terrible season due to injury but I have healed and pain is gone. By the time I featured in Paris and Brussels, I had slight pain that’s why I didn’t do well. Now the strategy is to be at my best in order to retain my title. I’m confident together with my teammates, we will deliver victory” said Conseslus before the team departed to Doha last week.

 The quartet will face up against Soufiane El Bakkali won three IAAF Diamond League meetings this season but was beaten to the African Games title by Kenyan Kigen. Both El Bakkali and Kigen were then defeated by Ethiopian teenager Getnet Wale at the IAAF Diamond League final.

Statistically, the head-to-head records among the trio don’t clear up much either. Wale leads El Bakkali, 3-1 this year, El Bakkali has the edge over Kigen at 4-2, but Kigen tops Wale at 3-2. There have been three races this year featuring all three of these athletes – Monaco, Rabat and Brussels – and they resulted in one win apiece.

European silver medallist Fernando Carro made a big step up in July when clocking a Spanish record of 8:05.69 in Monaco to finish close behind El Bakkali, Kigen and Wale. He was some way off the pace in his latest IAAF Diamond League appearance, though, placing eighth in Brussels.

National champion Alphas Kishoyian is another Kenyan who will be in action today in men’s 400m heats. Kishoyian has a PB of 44.75.

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