NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Olympic and world 3,000m
steeplechase champion Conseslus Kipruto has dismissed criticism
about his fitness ahead of the Africa Championships, which
starts in Asaba, Nigeria from Aug 1-5.
Speaking in Nairobi
on Monday, Kipruto cautioned his opponents. “I love being
low-key. You will see me when you will see me,” Kipruto told
Xinhua on Monday in Nairobi. “I will put all of my effort in
there. I’m ready for it.”
Games champion has had his worst start to a season, failing to
star in the Rome, Eugene, Rabat and Monaco Diamond league
meetings. But he believes his worst days are over and he will
win his maiden continental title in Nigeria as the curtains
rises on the Africa Championships.
“It has not been
easy and this is purely down to my own making. I have run the
best time this season at 8:08:40 in Rome, but I can do better
and winning the Africa title is one thing that inspires me. It
is a medal I have not touched,” he said.
Kipruto is among key
Kenyan athletes who have been drafted into the team eyeing to
improve on their last collection in South Africa where the
country claimed 24 medals.
Head coach Stephen
Mwaniki is happy he has taken his team through training without
any injury concerns and had a full week with all his stars in
camp after they returned home from competing in the Diamond
have been good and though sometimes I missed the elite runners,
we have had one good week together and have built a team that
can do better than any other we have had in the competition,”
Kenya is seeking to
widen its medal scope beyond the middle and long distance races
by incorporating sprints and field events and Mwaniki is certain
this program will yield medals in Nigeria.
“Sprint and field
events will be critical to dominating the championships in
medals. That is why we have a strong team ready for just that
purpose,” Mwaniki added.
South Africa has won
three of the past five editions of the African Championships,
topping the medals table at Addis Ababa 2008, Marrakech 2014 and
Kenya hosted and won
the 2010 edition of the championships, while Nigeria dominated
the 2012 African Championships held in Port Novo, Benin.