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Chemos, Chepkurui in Diamond showdown

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CHEMOS-CHEPKURUINAIROBI, Kenya, September 6- Following the triumphs of world champion Eunice Sum and silver medallist Conseslus Kipruto in Zurich last week, top Kenyan runners are ready to bag more Diamond League trophies in Brussels on Friday.

Sum once again stunned Russian Olympic champion Mariya Saminova to bag the women’s 800m Diamond crown before compatriot Kipruto added the men’s 3,000m steeple title.

In Brussels, Kenya will focus on the women’s 3,000m steeple where the top two medallists from the IAAF World Championships in Moscow, Milcah Chemos and Lydia Chepkurui, will go ahead.

Both have 12 points at the top of the grid and a win for either will secure them the Diamond Trophy.

While Chepkurui has not competed since winning silver at her first Worlds in Moscow where she clocked a career best 9:12.55, Chemos fell to surprise defeat in Zagreb (Sep. 3) at the hands of Ethiopia’s Hiwot Ayalew (9:28.72 against 9:29.16) as the first-time world titleholder stuttered to a first loss in seven outings over the distance and the only second reverse this season.

Lurking in the shadows of the Kenyan favourites is another Ethiopian, Sofia Assefa, the bronze winner from Moscow who stands to steal the Diamond Trophy if she wins and Chemos or Chepkurui finish outside the top-two.

Assefa is still smarting from a fall in the last lap of the Worlds medal race that gave the Kenyans a clear run for the first two podium positions.

After falling to Britain’s double world champion, Mo Farah, in Moscow men 5000m bronze medallist, Isaiah Kiplangat was understandably upset when Kenyan team tactics that would have ended with his possible assault for gold crumbled.

In Zurich and unshackled from team requirements, Kiplangat, can go flat out for victory that depending on how Ethiopia’s frontrunners at the event, Hagos Gebrhiwet and Yenew Alamirew fare, could retain the Diamond Trophy he won last season.

Compatriot and world leader Edwin Soi, Olympic 10,000m silver medallist Galen Rupp (USA) and 2007 World champion Bernard Lagat (USA) are other top ten finishers from Moscow raring to give it a go.

In the women 1500m, Worlds bronze winner, Helen Obiri, is targeting to upset the cart and hand Sweden’s Ethiopian Moscow winner, Abeba Aregawi and America’s Jenny Simpson, the two women who led her to the podium, what would be a shocking victory.

Aregawi has already wrapped up the Diamond race but the quality in the field guarantees a thrilling prospect to mirror the final in Russia.

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