NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 13 – Reigning World and Olympic 3,000m steeplechase champion Conseslus Kipruto has assured Kenyans that he is okay and will be in good shape to defend his title in Doha at the end of the month despite struggling this season.
Kipruto could not go past the third lap at the national trials on Friday afternoon at the Nyayo Stadium, raising fears that he might not have fully recovered from an injury that has limited his competitions for the season.
“Today I didn’t plan to start but after talking with my colleagues, I just thought of showing up and run for like three laps just to show that we are together. My fans have been having lots of pressure that we will lose the steeple in Doha but I want to assure them that I am there and in good shape,” Conseslus told Capital Sport.
Concern has been growing over the 16-time Diamond League winner after he also failed to finish the race at the African Games in Rabat and came fifth at the Paris leg of the Diamond League.
-Ready to defend title
But he believes he will be well and ready to clinch a second consecutive World title in Doha.
“The way I was moving and how I feel my body, I can tell Kenyans that I am back and will defend my title in Doha. I know what the steeple means to Kenyans and I promise that we can’t let it go. I am the defending champion and I know how to calculate my race. We will bring the title home,” Kipruto further stated.,
Kenya has been facing the danger of losing it’s crown as the world’s undisputed steeple champion with Americans and Morocco’s Soufiane El Bakkali being the biggest threat.
At the Diamond League this season, Kenya has found it tough with Ethiopia’s Getnet Wale finally ended Kenya’s nine-year dominance of the men’s steeple as he claimed the Diamond Trophy with victory in Brussels two weeks ago.
It is a threat that even Kenya’s head coach Julius Kirwa has admitted but says they will work on it.
“We have seen that the threat is there and we cannot sleep. We will go back and work over the next two weeks and improve on our technique and I can assure you we will be ready,” Kirwa said.
-Work on hurdling
Kipruto who says he will work to polish his hurdling technique over the next fortnight will be joined in the Kenyan team to Doha by Leonard Bett, Benjamin Kigen and Abraham Kibiwott.
Bett won the race at the national trials after clocking 8:20.29 with Kigen following closely with a time of 8:20.56. Kibiwott was a distance third in 8:24.61.
Among the major casualties who failed to weather the Nairobi altitude were World Under-20 champion Amos Kirui and Jonathan Ndiku Muia.