NAIROBI, August 1 (Xinhua) — Olympic steeplechase champion Conseslus Kipruto of Kenya has ruled himself fit for the London World Championships and warned his rivals that winning gold is his ultimate goal.
Kenya has long controlled the steeplechase race at the global championships, and Kipruto, like his predecessor, wants to hold both the world and Olympic titles. However, an ankle injury, which forced him to withdraw from two Diamond League events in (one in Ostrava, Czech Republic and another in Monaco), is his major concern ahead of taking on the world’s best in London starting on Aug. 4-13. “I am happy that I have been training well ahead of the championships. The injury forced me to withdraw from the Diamond League in Rabat but I have since recovered. I hope this time round, I will perform better than the previous two championships,” Kipruto, who has picked up two silver medals from the World Championships, said on Tuesday.
One of the athletes keen to restore his credentials as the world’s best will be Ezekiel Kemboi, who was forced to postpone his retirement at the Rio Olympics after his bronze medal was withdrawn for trailing the bar. Kenya will also have Beijing Olympic champion Brimin Kipruto and Jairus Birech on the team. Besides the two Olympics and four world titles, Kemboi is also the winner of three world silver medals, having been led across the line twice by Kenyan-born Qatari world record holder Saif Saeed Shaheen (formerly Stephen Cherono) at the 2003 and 2005 editions before Brimin Kipruto trumped him at Osaka in 2007. But with the baton having been passed on to Kipruto, the Kenyan production line is proving to be efficient. Kipruto said on Tuesday that he is ready to step up the ladder as the next dominant runner after Kemboi. “This time I want to change the way I have been running at the world championships,” said Kipruto. “Having won the Olympics, I now have the course. I want to be is a world champion and the take the mantle from Kemboi.”