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Conseslus leads Kenyan trio to Steeple final

Kenyan Conseslus Kipruto competing at the Rio Olympics

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 6- Olympic champion Conseslus Kipruto led two of his compatriots into the final of the 3000m steeplechase at the IAAF London World Championships on Sunday with 2007 World and 2008 Olympic champion Brimin Kipruto failing to progress.

Only Conseslus won his heat and qualified automatically with both defending champion Ezekiel Kemboi and 2014 Commonwealth silver medalist Jairus Birech kept waiting to confirm their qualification as one of the six fastest losers off the three heats.

Conseslus, who had an injury scare prior to the games, stuck in the middle of the pack until the final water hurdle where he sprung up, injected some pace and managed to go past Kenyan-turned American Stanley Kebenei and Canada’s Mathew Hughes.

The 22-year old is looking for his first world title after picking silver in the last two championships in Moscow and Beijing. He crossed the finish line in a time of 8:23.80 ahead of Kebenei who timed 8:24.90.

Kipruto finished a distant seventh in a slow time of 8:33.33.

Defending champion Kemboi finished fourth in his heat won by American Evan Jagger. The four-time world champion clocked 8:20.61, his fastest time this season, and it was just enough to carry him through.

He had stuck up at the back for most of the race and sprung up-front with three laps left as Jagger also moving up. However, Kemboi stuck to his shadow.

Nonetheless, the veteran athlete who is in his final track event faded off in the final 100m of the race could not hold on for long and needed a late surge to dip into fourth.

It was the same with Birech who has the world leading time this season. He eased up with two laps to go as Moroccan Souifianne Elbakkali took his long strides to open up a gap. Eventually, Birech turned home fifth in a time of 8:23.84.

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The final will be on Wednesday night.

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