NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 6 – World 1500m silver medalist Timothy Cheruiyot salvaged the day for Kenyan athletes at the IAAF Diamond League leg in Brussels, Belgium, flaming to victory in his race for a second consecutive Diamond League trophy.
Cheruiyot who won the title last year took charge of the race from gun to tape, holding off a late challenge from the Ingebrigsten brothers of Jakob and Philip to cross the line in 3:30.22.
Cheruiyot collected the Sh5mn prize purse that comes with the Diamond Trophy, but compatriots Conseslus Kipruto and Hellen Obiri weren’t as lucky in their races.
Obiri lost her crown to Netherlands’ Sifan Hassan who picked her second Diamond Trophy after winning the 1500m title in Zurich last weekend. It was sweet revenge for Sifan who lost the title to Obiri in a camera finish last year.
Hassan timed 14:26.26 with Obiri coming a distant fourth in 14:33.90.
In the men’s steeple, Conseslus, the reigning World and Olympic champion finished a disappointing seventh in 8:14.53, though it was only his third race after returning from injury.
Kenya’s best performer was Africa Games champion Bethwel Birgen who finished fourth in a race won by Ethiopia’s Wale Getnet who timed 8:06.92 while last year’s runner up Soufiane El Bakali came in second.
It was Cheruiyot, in the absence of world champion Elijah Manangoi that blazed the track, with much help from training partner Timothy Sein who did a superb job with the pace making.
Sein opened up some good pace from gun and dropped out after 800m after pulling his partner well away from the chasing pack, leaving the final bit of work to fellow rabbit Boaz Kiprugut who sailed Cheruiyot to the ball.
With his long strides and shoulder up poisture, Cheruiyot blazed the track to open up a 15m gap gliding away from the chasing pack. In the final 200m, the Ingebrigsten brothers put up some pace to try and catch up with Jakob leading.
With a slight glance over his shoulder and noticing the Norwegian duo chasing after his lead, Cheruiyot increased the tempo to ensure he maintained a sizeable gap to the finish.
The athletes will now switch their attention to the Kenyan trials for the IAAF World Championship which will be held on Thursday and Friday at the Nyayo Stadium.