NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
The king of the steeplechase may be undisputed,
but that will not stop Morocco’s Soufiane El Bakkali from taking
the fight to Olympic and world champion Conseslus Kipruto when
the two clash at the Birmingham Diamond League on Saturday.
Kipruto has had
little time to recover from his season’s best showing at the
Africa Championships in Asaba, Nigeria last week, where he beat
El Bakkali. It was an important win for Kipruto, having lost to
the Moroccan in Monaco in July.
“There was a blip in
my performance and he capitalized on it. But that was down to an
injury I was carrying. Now I am back to my best form and will be
going all out for a fast time in Birmingham as I seek to restore
my quest for the Diamond League trophy,” said Kipruto on
Wednesday in Nairobi.
A group of Kenyan
athletes will leave later on Wednesday for Birmingham, England
where the 12th round of the Diamond League will be
staged. The curtain falls on this season with the IAAF
Continental Cup in Ostrava, the Czech Republic on September 8
In the water and
hurdle race, Kipruto will lead a Kenyan team that also features
former world junior champion Amos Kirui, Abraham Kibiwot,
Benjamin Kigen, Leonard Bett and Nicholas Kiptanui. Ethiopia’s
Beyo Chala and Canada’s Matthew Hughes are also expected to
provide tough opposition.
Commonwealth Games 1,500m champion Elijah Manangoi switches to
the 800m race at the meeting having bagged gold at the Africa
Championship. He will be up against African 800m silver medalist
Emmanuel Korir, who has the world leading time this year of
1:42.05 set in London last month. Other contenders are Ferguson
Rotich and Jonathan Kitilit.
Commonwealth Games 5,000m champion Helen Obiri, another medalist
from the Africa championships, will contest the 3,000m race and
face world Under-20 champion Beatrice Chebet, Lilian Kasait,
world 10,000m bronze medalist Agnes Tirop, Eva Cherono and