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KIPRUTO FALLS SHORT: Olympics champion misses record as Asbel and Rotich bag Diamond League trophies in Brussels

ATHLETICS By RODGERS ESHITEMI IN BRUSSELS | September 11th 2016
Kenya's Conseslus Kipruto celebrates after winning the men's 3000 m steeple chase race during the IAAF Diamond League athletics meeting in Brussels on September 9, 2016. / AFP PHOTO

When 3000m steeplechase Olympic Champion Conseslus Kipruto came to Brussels, his target was to break Saif Saaeed Shaheen’s record of 7.53.63.

Despite winning the overall trophy that came with a cash prize of Sh4 million at the King Baudouin Stadium on Friday night, the 21-year-old former World Youth and Junior champion failed to run under eight minutes, winning the race ten seconds adrift.

By the time he was going to Belgium, Kipruto had already won the title after his impressive show in the last five legs. He went on to garner 70 points after clocking 8:03.74 ahead of Olympic silver medalists Evan Jager from USA in the final meeting as he led other Kenyans in ending the season on a high note.

“I am a bit disappointed because that is not what I was expecting in Brussels, and to make it worse I didn’t break the under eight record. I was here to attempt a world record, but unfortunately I didn’t. Yes, I won but I am not happy with the timing,” Kipruto told Feverpitch.

“I lost the morale in the first kilometre after racing for 2.39 instead of 2.37. That’s how I lost hope even before the second kilometre.”

Despite failing to break the world record, Kipruto, who still leads the world with his 8:00.12 personal best, is proud of his season’s achievements.

“All the same, I am happy to have had a brilliant season and summing up it with a Diamond trophy just after the Olympics makes it fantastic. After Rio, I decided to skip Lausanne and went home to rest waiting for Brussels. I was sure of breaking the record but it has not worked,” Kipruto said.

“The pacemakers somehow let me down, I trusted them so much but I realised the pace was too slow. In fact, I had to relax in the first three laps, but still the pace was slow.”

Three time 1500m world champion Asbel Kiprop and Ferguson Rotich (800m) were both crowned the overall Diamond League winners despite finishing third and fourth in their respective races on the night.

Timothy Cheruiyot clinched the 1500m after clocking a personal best of 3:31.34 ahead of Morocco’s Abdelaati Iguider, second in 3:31.40 and third placed Kiprop (3:31.87), who recently finished outside the medal bracket in Rio.

“What a perfect way to end a season it was. Actually, I wasn’t expecting to win, but it just came as a surprise. It is by the grace of God I made it. The season is over, focus now shifts to 2017 World championships,” Cheruiyot said.

Rotich was also upset by Pole Adam Kszczot, who won the 800m race in 1:44.36 ahead of world junior champion Kipyegon Bett (1:44.44). Rotich finished a distant fourth in 1:44.59.

Olympic 10,000m champion Almaz Ayana bounced back from her 5000m defeat in Rio to beat silver medallist Hellen Obiri after clocking a meeting record of 14:18.89, the eighth-fastest time ever run over the distance.

However, Obiri revelled in her Personal Best feat of 14:25.78 ahead of third placed Ethiopian Senbere Teferi (14:29.82).

“It wasn’t a bad race, but it was visible most of the guys were exhausted after a long season,” said Obiri.

“But I am happy to have achieved my personal best here.”

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