NYAHURURU, Kenya, July 23- Only one hundredth of a second separated Olympic 3000m steeplechase champion Brimin Kipruto and his place history as the world record holder of the water and barriers race in Monaco on Friday night.
Kipruto, who also won the world title in Osaka in 2007 made the boldest statement of adding another crown to his glittering collection in Daegu, South Korea, when he delivered a blistering 7:53.64 performance that is the second quickest steeplechase run of all time.
The IAAF website described his showing in Monaco as the “finest performance of the meet and definitely the best track performance of the summer season” as he came agonisingly close to breaking Kenyan born Qatari, Saif Saaed Shaheen’s 7:53.63 world record.
“That something special was on the cards became apparent as early as the first kilometre which, led by Haron Lagat, was passed in 2:36.55 and saw the field lowered to a pack of four with 2004 Olympic gold medallist Ezekiel Kemboi and world leader Paul Koech looking particularly frisky,” the website’s report read.
Kipruto, who won the Kenyan Trials for the Daegu World Championships at a canter, was third at the bell behind Athens 2004 bronze winner, Paul Kipsiele and world champion, Ezekiel Kemboi, but a searing 60-seconds last lap not only brought him victory but also agonisingly saw him just, just, fall short of erasing the all time best set in 2004.
Kemboi with 7:55.76 and Kipsiele who sealed the Kenyan 1-2-3 in 7:57.32 were rewarded with lifetimes best in the astonishing race that produced the number two, four and seven fastest steeplechasers of all time.
Kipsiele, who did most of the spadework when the rabbit Lagat dropped out, is the only podium finisher in Monaco who will miss the Daegu jamboree after he was for the umpteenth time scorched at the selection event at Nyayo.
In the men 800m, world record holder David Rudisha added to his Diamond League victory in Lausanne by scorching to a new world leading time of 1:42.61 but on this occasion he was chased much harder by his opponents.
Olympic 1500m champion Asbel Kiprop, the 800m winner at the series opener in Doha, may not have gotten within five metres of his fellow countryman but was rewarded for his eyeballs effort with a personal best by two hundredth of a second, clocking 1:43.15.
Rudisha led through the first lap by pacemaker and training partner Sammy Tangui in 49.61 and improving his 1:43.46 world lead, told IAAF, “I felt great. I knew my shape was coming along nicely and it’s nice to see such a fast time.”
Commonwealth champion, Silas Kiplagat blew away the field in the men’s 1500m, completing the three and a half laps in a world leading 3:30.47.
The Moses Kiptanui-trained athlete added the Monaco twin to his equally dominant triumph at the Trials for Daegu a week earlier when he raced a soil record.
Nixon Chepseba, who was dropped from the Daegu team on Tuesday and arrived in Monaco as the world leader edged the frenetic battle for second in 3:31.74.
World 3000m champion Isaiah Koech who won the Daegu trials lowered his World Youth Best from 12:54.59 to 12:54.18 when finishing third to Britain’s Mo Farah and American Bernard Lagat in the men’s 5000m to cap a rousing Kenyan performance in Monaco.