As anticipated Kenya’s World champions Conseslus Kipruto, Hellen Obiri and Faith Chepng’etich signed off their seasons in style, winning their respective Diamond league Series race in Brussels on Friday night.
In a replica of the World Championships in London, Kipruto showed Moroccan Souflane El Bakkali and Evan Jager from USA, who the 3,000m steeplechase master was, edging them out in that order.
Kipruto, the Olympic 3,000m champion, was forced to dig deep as he rallied from behind to beat El Bakkali on the line in 8 minutes and 04.73 and lift his third Diamond League trophy besides the purse of US$ 50,000 (Sh 5million).
It was Kipruto’s second victory this season after Rome as he once again showed El Bakkali and Jager a clean pair of heels in 8:04.83 and 8:11.71 respectively in what was a repeat of the World Championships final.
El Bakkali went into the final boosting of victories from Stockholm and Rabat, as he posted a world lead of 8:01.29 while Jager won one event in Monaco with a world lead of 8:01.29.
It was perhaps the best ever season for Obiri, who added a world title to her Olympic 5,000m silver collection what with her maiden Diamond League trophy with an emphatic victory in 5,000m of 14:25.88 at the Belgium capital.
It was Obiri’s fifth victory in the Diamond League this season, having won in Shanghai (5,000m), Rome (5,000m), Monaco (3,000m) and London (Mile). Obiri’s victory in Rome of 14:18.37 was not only a world lead but a national record.
Her Mile victory of 4:16.56 in London was also a Meet and National MR, NR (Mile).
Obiri edged fellow Kenyan Caroline Chepkoech, who was able to return personal best 14:27.55 followed by Senbere Teferi from Ethiopia in 14:32.03 and African Games 5,000m champion Margaret Chelimo from Kenya also in personal best 14:32.82.
Obiri became the first Kenyan to win the 5,000m series since Mercy Cherono in 2014.
Chepng’etich, who is the Olympic 1,500m champion, also wrapped up her great season with her maiden Diamond League trophy victory, ending Kenya’s long drought in the metric mile race.
Nancy Jebet Lagat, the first Kenyan to win Olympic 1,500m gold, was the first and last Kenyan to win the metric mile series during the inaugural 2010 the Diamond League.
Cheng’etich clocked season’s best 3:57.04 once again beating Sifan Hassan from the Netherlands in 3:57.22 and fellow Kenyan Winny Chebet in 4:00.18. Hassan won the trophy in 2015.
“It did it for the late Kimutai Ng’etich, who has nurtured many athletes in Keringet including me,” said Chepng’etich. “He was like our athletics father in Keringet. May the good Lord grant his family peace.”
“I once again had a great season and I thank God for his mercies,” said Chepng’etich, adding that her Olympic and World victories have heightened her urge to yearn for more.
“I can rule out the world record as my next target. It’s never the end considering that I am still young.”
Besides the DL Trophies, Obiri and Chepng’etich also pocketed Sh 5 million each.
World 800m bronze medallist Kenya’s Kipyegon Bett finished fourth in men’s 800m in 1:45.21, losing the battle to Nijel Amos from Botswana, who clinched the DL trophy in 1:44.53.