NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 30 – Olympic, World, Commonwealth and African 3,000m steeplechase champion Conseslus Kipruto showed sheer grit and determination, winning the water and barriers race at the Zurich Leg of the IAAF Diamond League on Thursday night, wearing just one shoe for six laps.
Kipruto’s left shoe plucked off his ankles after just two laps and he made the decision to kick it away, taking on the massive challenge of going over the barriers and bruising his feet on the tartan track with bare feet.
He produced one of the best ever finishes in the Diamond League this season, powering past Morocco’s Soufiane El Bakkali to take the victory and the winner takes it all Diamond Trophy, accompanied by a massive cash reward of Sh5mn (USD50,000).
Kipruto crossed over the line biting his teeth while edging the Moroccan by a slim margin, winning in 8:10.15 while El Bakkali came in second timing 8:10.19.
It all seemed to be going down well with Kipruto staying just behind the pace setters. But the script was just about to change in the second lap when the World Champion had to kick away his shoe and went on to run with one for the next six laps.
With three laps to go, El Bakkali and American Evan Jagger moved to the front of the pack but Kipruto stuck on their necks.
Jagger dropped with 600m to go, with El Bakkali seeming firm in control. A small trip close to the bell with Ethiopia’s Beyo Chala almost saw the Moroccan drop off, but he stood firm to take the lead at the bell.
With his long strides, he started pulling away from Kipruto with Jagger now pulling some strength to narrow the gap. At the final water jump, El Bakkali had opened a gap of almost 20m, but on Kipruto’s face he was never just going to watch Sh5mn walk run off his face like that.
He dug deep into his energy reserves, gathered all his determination and took on El Bakkali, going past him by a fraction on the line.
-Cheruiyot beats Manangoi
Meanwhile, Timothy Cheruiyot asserted his dominance over training partner and World Champion Elijah Manangoi in the Diamond League, beating him for the fourth time to clinch the Diamond Trophy and the Sh5mn cash reward.
Cheruiyot took his sixth victory in the Diamond League this season, winning in a time of 3:30.27 while Manangoi held on for second spot clocking 3:31.16.
The two stuck to the frontm just behind the pace setters from the onset and once they dropped off, it was just a matter of who between the two Rongai Athletics Club members would go home with the trophy and the cash.
-Obiri shows class
Another exciting affair lay in wait in the 5,000m with Hellen Obiri withstanding a late surge from Netherland’s Siffan Hassan to bag the Diamond Trophy.
Obiri stuck in the lead for the entirety of the race apart from the last three laps when she was boxed in between compatriot Agnes Tirop and Ethiopia’s Teferi Senbere with Hassan breathing on her neck.
However, the Kenyan World, Commonwealth and African champion seemingly saved the best for last as she bolted off from the leading pack in the final 300m with Hassan following in her long strides behind her.
It seemed that Obiri was struggling to keep charge at the home straight as Hassan swung her way to close the gap, but Obiri showed experience and composure to stride home in 14:38.39 as Hassan came second in 14:38.77.
Teferi was third while Caroline Chepkoech and Agnes Tirop finished fourth and fifth respectively ahead of Genzebe Dibaba.