OSLO, June 14-World junior champion Conseslus Kipruto, undefeated this year once again prevailed over Olympic champion, Ezekiel Kemboi, this time without the controversy of shoving, as the youngster demonstrated he was ready to assume the mantle of the 3000m men steeple often referred to as Kenya’s race.
Kipruto was the favourite and was operating close to World-record pace for much of the race. The quick early laps, going through the first kilometre in 2:36, eventually took their toll, however, and the teenager had to be content with the victory in 8:04.48 at the Oslo round of the IAAF Diamond League.
London winner Kemboi once again finished behind his younger compatriot, this time with a season’s best of 8:07.00 with talk of a potential meeting record, maybe even the first performance below eight minutes on Norwegian soil, in the men’s 3000m Steeplechase before the event.
Two-time Olympic 5000m champion Meseret Defar maintained her perch as the distance queen of Oslo. The Ethiopian has won here three times before, highlighted by her 2007 World record of 14:16.63.
She was beaten by Genzebe Dibaba in Shanghai in her first Diamond League appearance of 2013, but Defar wasn’t ready to suffer a defeat on one of her favourite European tracks.
After a good pace-making job – going through 3000m in 8:48.10 – Defar picked up the tempo in an attempt to run the sting out of her compatriot, Dibaba. The tactic worked and she kicked hard on the final lap to extend her margin over the field, covering the final 400m in 61.7 seconds.
Defar – who last summer didn’t win a single track races outside of the Olympics – was rewarded with a world-leading time of 14:26.90, her fastest performance since 2010 and the 12th fastest run ever.
“Before Shanghai I was sick and I nearly cancelled the race,” said Defar. “Here all was okay. I think I’m even in World record shape, but I’m not confident enough to try for it. This year the main goal is the 5000m but I think I will have a surprise for my fans. You will see in due time.”
Viola Kibiwot overtook a fading Dibaba to take second, 14:33.48 to 14:37.68.