NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 9 – Olympic and World 3,000m steeplechase champion Conseslus Kipruto has taunted his competitors that they should never even imagine beating him again after they failed to do so when he raced injured at the IAAF World Championship in Doha.
Kipruto has endured a tough season with injury and pulled out of three races, but ensured he won the most important of all, defending his title in Doha with the closest ever finish in World Championship history.
“If they did not beat me when I was injured, I don’t think they can ever beat me. I went into the final determined not to lose the title and I wanted to show the whole world that steeplechase is a Kenyan event and we can never lose it,” Kipruto told Capital Sport.
Kipruto put up a sprint in the final 50m to dip beyond Ethiopia’s Lamecha Girma, stopping the clock in 8:01.35, one hundredth of a second ahead of the Ethiopian with the Moroccan Soufiane El Bakkalli finishing third.
The 24-year old has disclosed that he was not under pressure heading to the final despite fears that he would not defend the title due to the injuries that had clouded his season.
Upon finishing, he sat on one of the barriers, fingers in his eyes, telling the whole word to look at him and his prowess while placing a finger on his lips.
“There was a lot of fear and pressure that we could lose the title and that Conseslus was not in good shape. But I wanted to show the whole world that steeple is a Kenyan event. We cannot lose the steeplechase title as long as I am in the race. It cannot happen under my watch,” the confident Kipruto further added.
Tearing a script off his friend Eliud Kipchoge’s book, Kipruto has disclosed to Capital Sport that he chose to shield away the pain from injury off his mind by only thinking about how much he wanted to defend his crown and silence the naysayers.
“When you are in a big race, you have to be strong mentally. When you have the spirit and the heart you will win it. You just need to remove the pressure of injury off your mind and I was always thinking of myself as a champion throughout the race. For me, my only competitor is injury,” stated Kipruto.
His next focus now is on defending his Olympics title in Tokyo next year while bigger on his ambition is lowering Saif Shaheen’s world record of 7:53.63 set in Brussels in 2004.
This will be a massive call for Kipruto who has a personal best of 8:00.12.
“I think my form has picked up at the right time with my injury healing. I will rest a bit then get back to work because I want to go to Tokyo and defend my title. I want to do wonders in the Olympics. Also, I want to try and get the World Record back to Kenya,” noted Kipruto.