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History on the horizon for Brimin

NAIROBI, Kenya, April 30- Despite being one of the country’s most accomplished Olympians and championship war horse, Brimin Kipruto shuns the limelight like a plague.

He is in the class of athletes who prefer their legs to do the talking as opposed to say one of his biggest men 3000m steeplechase rival, Ezekiel Kemboi, who is a show pony per excellence.

However, that does not belie the burning desire of the runner who is itching to stamp his authority in history books when the London Olympics kick-off on July 27 as he seeks to become the first man to defend the 3000m steeplechase title.

“For now, I’m preparing for the Olympics and training well. I’m waiting for the Trials and from there, anything can happen,” Kipruto told Capital Sport at the Chepkoilel Campus grounds after an intense speed work session on the murram track.

“To be at an Olympics for the third time is so tough. First of all, you must train hard, maintain discipline and be serious in what you are doing. That is why I’m trying to go for the third Olympics since they are the biggest sport for any athlete,” he added.

Kipruto announced his arrival on the international stage when he raced 5:36.81 for 2000m steeplechase silver at the 2001 World Youth Championships in Debrecen, Hungary where he trailed David Kirwa (5:33.40) to the line.

He proved his versatility when he won bronze medal over 1,500m at the 2004 World Juniors in Grosseto, Italy after stopping the clock in 3:95.36 as an 18-year-old and after just turning 19 (born 31 July, 1985) Kipruto made his name by bagging steeplechase silver at the Athens Olympics in 8:06.11 as Kemboi took the gold.

Another bronze medal at the 2005 Worlds followed (8:15.30) before his famed kick won him his first world title two years later in Osaka (8:13.82) and his purple patch continued at the Beijing Olympics where he scooped the biggest medal of his career in 8:10.34.

His defence of the world title ended with a seventh finish in Berlin (8:12.61), marking his worst result on the track in Kenyan colours but Kipruto returned to the podium in Daegu last year where only a devastating back straight sprint by Kemboi denied him the gold as he arrived on the line in 8:16.05 for the second medal.

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“To run for long depends on the amount and discipline you have. Running is my office and I have to take it very seriously. I’m training twice a day, in the morning and evening and sometimes, I train three times a day.

“Most of the time, I’m in Kaptagat training and remaining focused on the job at hand,” the Beijing champion explained his extended run on or close to the top of his trade.

He counts his first Olympics in Athens as the most special for him.

“But every medal I have won remains special in its own way since it takes a lot to be among the top and this is what I’m looking forward to in London. Athens was my first Olympics and Beijing has many good memories for me,” he hastens to add.

The Kipsoen High School alumnus became only the second man after Reuben Kosgei (2000/2001) to hold both the Olympics and World steeple titles simultaneously with his triumph in China and as London beckons, what are his chances of making further history and ascending to a class of his own as a first repeat winner of the crown?

“That would be great but for now, the Trials are the most important thing on my mind since I have to qualify then from there, we can start thinking about London once I’m through,” Kipruto who became Kenya’s seventh successive holder of the Olympics steeplechase crown expressed.

Having taken slightly four minutes of his time, roughly half of what it takes to win his speciality at a championship, Kipruto wanders off for a well deserved rest following another intense training session.

As he walks away, it is evident that the second quickest steeplechaser of all time with 7:53.64 ran last year that is a hundredth of a second off the world record held by Qatari Saif Saeed Shaheen is quietly confident that he is capable of defending his title in London.

This will however, never be heard from the rooftops since Kipruto, who will have just turned 26 when the Olympics start, has perfected the art of being ‘The Silent Master’.

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