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Kipruto recovers in time for Paris Diamond League

Saturday August 24 2019

Kenya's Conseslus Kipruto celebrates after winning the 3,000m steeplechase during the IAAF Continental Championships in Ostrava, Czech Republic on September 8, 2018. PHOTO| GETTY IMAGES |

Kenya's Conseslus Kipruto celebrates after winning the 3,000m steeplechase during the IAAF Continental Championships in Ostrava, Czech Republic on September 8, 2018. PHOTO | GETTY IMAGES |  

AYUMBA AYODI
By AYUMBA AYODI
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Olympics and World 3,000m steeplechase champion Conseslus Kipruto and 800m athletes Michael Saruni and Ferguson Rotich will be in focus when Paris Leg of the Diamond League goes down on Saturday evening at Stade Sébastien Charléty.

It will be Kipruto’s first Diamond League race this season and his second race of the year since winning bronze in mixed relay at the World Cross Country Championships on March 30 in Aarhus, Denmark.

Athletics Kenya (AK) will be keen to see how Kipruto performs on return from a foot fracture especially with the World Championships beckoning from September 28 to October 6 in Doha, Qatar.

Kipruto retained his Diamond League trophy in Zurich, which was his last DL event in August last year before going for the Continental Cup title in September in Ostrava.

Kipruto comes face-to-face with world number one this season, Moroccan Soufiane El Bakkali, who has won two events this term, clocking 8:07.22 in Doha on May 3 and 8:04.82 in Monaco on July 12.

Also in contentions is fast-rising Benjamin Kigen, who is fresh from winning the Kenyan title on Thursday in 8:33.06 having also reigned supreme in Rome on June 6 where he won in personal best and world lead of 8:06.13.

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The 2016 World Under-20 3,000m steeplechase champion Amos Kirui, who is also the national Cross Country champion, is the other Kenyan in the race.

USA-based Saruni, who is chasing his maiden Diamond League victory, is the fastest in the diluted 800m field with season’s best 1:43.70 and personal best 1:43.25.

Saruni will take on the reigning World 800m champion Frenchman Pierre-Ambroise Bosse, who has only one Diamond League win in 800m from 2016 Rabat. The Frenchman is seeking to improve on his best time 1:45.43 set on July 12 in Monaco. Others is the race are Canadian Brandon McBride (1:43.83), Qatari Abubaker Haydar Abdalla (1:44.33) and American Clayton Murphy (1:44.47).

Rotich, who won men’s 800m in London on July 21, has opted to compete in 1,500m perhaps for endurance ahead of the national trials for the World Championships due September 11-13 at the Nyayo National Stadium.

The 1,500m race will be widest open and most exciting races of the evening. Rotich will take on two of the three medallists over the distance from the Rio Games in 2016. They are Algerian Taoufik Makhloufi (silver) and New Zealander Nick Willis (bronze).

Ingebrigtsen siblings, Jakob and Filip, respectively credited this year with 3:30.16 and 3:30.82 add to the flavour that also has Ugandan Ronald Musagala, who chalked personal best 3:30.58 from Monaco on July 12 before winning in Birmingham on August 18.

Djiboutian Ayanleh Souleiman, young Ethiopian Samuel Tefera and French youngster Alexis Miellet will be out to leave a memorable mark in Paris in the metric mile race.

The Paris leg will then pave way for the Diamond League finals on August 24 in Zurich, Switzerland and September 6 in Brussels, Belgium.

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