Kipruto warns Kenya steeplechase dominance under threat
Olympic steeplechase champion Conseslus Kipruto has warned Kenya
unless they invest in the sport, the country's dominance will not hold
Kipruto successfully retained his title at the World Championships
winning with a margin of 0.01 seconds, which is the smallest ever in
the history of 3000m steeplechase. The previous record was at 0.20
seconds back in 1997.
"It was a very strong competition, I tried to go
in front to control the pace but they were there just behind me
chasing because they knew I was going to sprint," Kipruto said.
Ethiopian teenager Lamecha Girma will be hard-pressed knowing that he
came very close to make history and win his country the first gold in
the water and hurdle race.
However, he retains the same piece of history as the first Ethiopian to secure any kind of medal in the race. "Steeplechase is normally a Kenyan event, it belongs to Kenyans.
But nowadays, there are competitors from the world - Ethiopians,
Moroccans, and even Americans. But the most important thing is the
medal and I did that," added Kipruto.
The 25-year-old will now turn his focus on winning the Olympic gold
medal in Tokyo, Japan next year."Steeplechase is no longer a Kenyan
affair. Many would have wanted us to sweep the medal but we have very
strong competitors," he warned.
The thought of failing to defend the title he last won in London made the self-proclaimed king of steeplechase change his plans for teamwork. "We call ourselves the powerhouse of steeplechase but we need to invest in the young athletes and make sure we have facilities, this season I have been out due to injury and if I was not here today we could have lost this," Kipruto
"This year, the injury made it hard for me to train. I had a
foot problem and that is why it limited me," he said.
Doctors had warned Kipruto will not be fit to compete since his injury
in May. They gave him at least five months to heal, but he was back in
action within three months and though he suffered two loses and one
failure to finish, he won the most important race to retain his title
Rivals Soufiane El Bakkali of Morocco, Diamond League winner
Getnet Wale of Ethiopia and Kenyan champion Benjamin Kigen appeared to
be the in-form. For now, the Olympic champion is happy he has retained
his title and will return home to rest a happy man.