Kipruto eyes victory in Morocco: Conseslus leads top field in Rabat meeting

Rio Olympics Athletics Kenya's Conseslus Kipruto celebrates after winning the men's 3000-meter steeplechase final when setting a new Olympic record during the athletics competitions of the 2016 Summer Olympics at the Olympic stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Olympic champion keen to continue good form in Diamond League.

Olympic 3000m steeplechase champion Conseslus Kipruto will be hoping to make a perfect return to Rabat today as he leads over 45 star athletes in the tenth leg of the 2017 IAAF Diamond League, at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Sports complex in Morocco.

Kipruto had a brilliant season last year, winning gold medal in Rio before claiming the Diamond Trophy after dominating the Diamond race.

The 22-year-old two time world silver medalist will be competing in his signature event for the first time since winning the national championships at Nyayo National Stadium on June 24.

He then pulled out of the Golden Spike meeting after suffering an ankle injury. However, prior to the national trials, Kipruto had ran a world lead of 8:04 at the Rome Diamond League meeting on June 8.

But it will not be a walk in the park for the Kenyan, who is seeking for an improved mark after winning the inaugural International Mohammed VI Athletics in a meeting record of 8:02.77, as he faces stiff opposition from Moroccan Soufiane El Bakkali as well as compatriot and 2015 Diamond Trophy winner Jairus Birech.

Although World Junior 800m champion Kipyegon Bett has already qualified for the finals, the meeting could be an ultimate final rehearsal if the standings remain the same until the last leg.

This promises to be an exciting race as all the top six athletes in the standings are here in Morocco. Save for Bett, who has 22 points from three DL meets, the rest have plenty to fight for as only four points separate Nijel Amos, Adam Kszczot, Donovan Brazier, Ferguson Rotich (Trophy holder) and Robert Biwott.

“All of them are good athletes and so I don’t underrate them. The best athlete will win that race but I believe I have regained, so let them be prepared for surprises,” Diamond Trophy holder Ferguson Rotich told The Standard Sports.

“We still have like four legs to go, so the hopes of retaining my trophy are still high. The good thing is that only top eight in points will qualify for finals in the last meet and whoever wins it will go with the trophy,” said Rotich.

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