What you need to know:
- Olympic steeplechase champion hopes to set new mark in final leg of Diamond meet
- Kemboi, a four-time world champion, won bronze at the Rio Olympic Games but was stripped off after a line infringement.
New Olympic 3,000m steeplechase champion Conseslus Kipruto has trained his sights on the World Record in Brussels, the last event of the 2016 Diamond League set for on September 8 in Belgium.
Kipruto, who returned to a heroic reception on Monday afternoon in Eldoret from Rio de Janeiro where he won gold for Kenya in the water and barrier race, said he will then take a break before preparing to capture the World title next year in London.
“The World Record is on my mind after winning the coveted Olympic gold medal,” said Kipruto, who upheld Kenya’s dominance in steeplechase, handing the country its 11th Olympics victory in an Olympic Record time of 8 minutes and 03.28 seconds.
Kipruto, who boasts of a personal best of 8:00.12, said that his body is in great shape after the Olympics victory hence the right time break the 12-year-old World record.
It’s in Brussels where Kenyan-born Qatari Saif Saaeed Shaheen, formerly Stephen Cherono, set a new World Record of 7:53.63 on September 3, 2004.
“It’s almost two years since someone ran under eight minutes and I feel Brussels is the right place when I am still in top form,” said Kipruto, who has so far claimed victories in all the five events in this year’s Diamond League. He reigned supreme in Birmingham in a personal best 8:00.12 on June 5.
Kipruto claimed victory in Doha in a world lead of 8:05.13, improved it in Rabat in a Meet record of 8:02.77 before another World Lead of 8:01.41 in Rome. He then clocked 8:08.11 in Monaco before turning focus on the Rio Olympics.
“I came close to dipping under eight minutes in Birmingham but Brussels will be a good stage to wrap up with my second Diamond League trophy after 2013,” said Kipruto.
On his victory in Rio, Kipruto, who claimed silver medals at the 2013 Moscow and 2015 Beijing Worlds, said he was sure of the victory by virtue of his good performances in the Diamond League.
“That is why I started celebrating at the final bend at the home straight,” said Kipruto, the 2012 World Under-20 and 2011 World Under-18 champion. “It’s such a blessing to win gold on my debut at the Olympics and I thank God for it.”
“I have played second fiddle twice at the Worlds. I think next year will also be my time,” said Kipruto, who downplayed his rivalry with two-time Olympic champion Ezekiel Kemboi.
Kemboi, a four-time world champion, won bronze at the Rio Olympic Games but was stripped off after a line infringement.
“We are great friends and I see no cause for enmity…we took a victory lap together in Rio as he congratulated me, encouraging me to aim higher,” said Kipruto.
"I am glad he has not retired and wants to go for the fifth Word title.”