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Kipruto wins 3000m steeplechase gold, Kemboi retires

Wednesday August 17 2016
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Kenya's Conseslus Kipruto celebrates after setting a new Olympic record and winning the Men's 3000m Steeplechase Final during the athletics event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 17, 2016. PHOTO | ADRIAN DENNIS |

By STEVE OMONDI

IN RIO DE JANEIRO

World silver medallist Conseslus Kipruto on Wednesday stunned two-time Olympic champion Ezekiel Kemboi to win the 3,000m steeplechase gold at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.

Kipruto clocked a new Olympic record of 8:03.28 to win Kenya its fourth gold medal of the Games while USA's fast-rising steeplechaser Evan Jager outpaced Kemboi on the homestretch to bag silver in 8:04.28.

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Kenya's Conseslus Kipruto celebrates after he won the Men's 3000m Steeplechase Final during the athletics event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 17, 2016. PHOTO | OLIVIER MORIN | AFP

Kemboi won bronze in 8:08.47 and immediately announced his retirement from the water and barrier race.

"I feel good after a career of 18 years and competing in my fourth Olympics. I've done my level best and I just want to say that today I'm officially retiring from athletics," Kemboi told journalists after the race.

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Kenya's Conseslus Kipruto and Ezekiel Kemboi, and USA's Evan Jager compete in men's 3000m steeplechase final in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 17, 2016. AFP PHOTO

With high expectations placed on the Kenyan runners in the race, Kipruto finally came of age with his composed running to clinch the one gold medal that Kenyans have practically made their own in the last nine editions of the Olympics.

Former Olympic champion Brimin Kipruto finished seventh in 8:18.79.

"The race was good but my body failed to respond. I just felt tired," Brimin, the 2008 Beijing Olympics champion said after the race.

After the final water jump, Conseslus, who was already cruising, started pumping his fists in victory as it became apparent that he was going to be new Olympic champion.

"I'm so happy! I think the season has been good for me. I was aiming to beat Kemboi and be the Olympics champion. As you know, it has been so hard to beat Kemboi. As for the early celebration, I watched the big screen and realised I was far ahead of everyone," Conseslus said.

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Kenya's Conseslus Kipruto celebrates after winning the men's 3000m steeplechase final at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 17, 2016. AFP PHOTO

Victory also guaranteed a continuation of Kenya's long streak in the water and barriers event, now stretching to nine consecutive editions of the Olympics.

Kemboi, a four-time World champion and two-time Olympic gold medallist, failed in his bid to add another feather on his illustrations career by becoming the second Kenyan to successfully defend an Olympics title after David Rudisha retained the men’s 800m title on Monday night.

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