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Kenya’s Kipruto ready to step up steeplechase ladder

Kenyan athlete Conseslus Kipruto celebrates after winning the men’s 3000 steeplechase race during the Rome’s Diamond League athletics competition on June 8, 2017 at the Olympic Stadium in Rome © AFP/File / ALBERTO PIZZOLI

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 24 – Kenya’s Olympic 3,000 metres steeplechase champion Conseslus Kipruto feels victory at this year’s world championships in London would cement his place one of the distance greats.

The 22-year-old, twice gold medallist in 2013 in Moscow and in Beijing in 2015, said he’s ready to step up the ladder as the next dominant after compatriot and four-time world champion Ezekiel Kemboi.

“This time I want to change the way I have been running at the world championships,” said Kipruto, after his victory at the Kenyan national trials at the Nyayo National stadium on Saturday.

“Having won the Olympics, I now have the course. I want to be is a world champion and the take the mantle from Kemboi.”

Kipruto will however have the 2007 world champion Brimin Kipruto to contend with in London after the resurgent 2008 Olympic champion fought his way to qualify for his seventh career championship in London with a second-place finish.

Two-time Diamond League winner Jairus Kipchoge Birech finished third in 8:20.01 to complete the three-man line-up.

American National Collegiate 800-metre champion Emmanuel Korir upset a strong field to win his first Kenyan title in an impressive time of 1:43.86.

Korir finished well clear of the Shanghai Diamond League winner Kipyegon Bett and fellow US-based Michael Saruni, who took second and third place respectively in 1:44.04 and 1:44.61.

National champion Ferguson Rotich was relegated into fourth, but was included in the world championship squad by virtue of being the 2016 Diamond League champion.

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Reigning 800m champion David Rudisha also earned the wild card, despite not taking part in the two-day championship.

The women’s 800m was won by Olympic bronze medallist Margaret Nyairera in her fourth personal best time of the season in 1:59.68.

Eunice Sum, the African and Commonwealth 800m champion was a distant second in 2:00.03 with Emily Cherotich (2:00.08) third.

There was no surprise in the men’s 10000m, as national champion Geoffrey Kamworor lead Bedan Karoki and Paul Tanui in a repeat of the team that represented Kenya in the Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Kamworor, the two-time world cross country and world half-marathon champion said the trio will work as a team to topple Britain’s two-time world 10000m champion, Mo Farah in London.

“We need to change the technique and with enough training between now and August there is no doubt about beating Farah. It is high time we won back the 10000m world title. That time is now,” said Kamworor.

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