Kipruto has eyes on 10,000m medal as early birthday gift
World Under-20 10,000m champion Rhonex Kipruto is unmoved ahead of arguably his biggest race when he lines up in his specialty on the final day of the 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar.
The 19-year-old, who set a course record in the men’s 10,000m at the Stockholm Diamond League in May, will be joined by compatriots Rodgers Kwemoi and Alex Oloitiptip in Sunday’s final as he looks for an early birthday present.
“I want to have an easy run and by extension go out and enjoy my race. I don’t intend to put myself in any form of pressure,” said Kipruto, who turns 20 on October 12.
The athlete, who smashed Richard Chelimo’s two-decade record of 27:07.91 set on July 5, 1993, maintains his time of 26:50.16 was an indicator of what to expect from him in his first senior appearance.
In Doha, Kipruto will be up against Ethiopians Selemon Barega, Andamlak Belihu, Hagos Gebrhiwet and Yomif Kejelcha as well as Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei, who is considered faviourite in the 25-lap race.
“I defeated Paul Chelimo of USA and Gebrhiwet, who won silver and bronze at the Rio Olympics respectively. That is a psychological boost for me. As for Cheptegei, I am ready for him on the track,” added Kipruto, who was sixth in the senior men’s race at the World Cross-Country Championships in Aarhus, Denmark in March, a race won by the Ugandan.
The youngster, however, feels World Half Marathon record holder Geoffrey Kamworor, winner of the Kenyan trials last month, would have easily won the race had he been in Doha.
Kamworor opted out of the Worlds to focus on November’s New York Marathon and warmed up to it in style by breaking the World Half Marathon Record in Copenhagen, Denmark last month. “I think he could have been the favourite has he been racing on Sunday but the race in now open,” said Kipruto.