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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Kenyan Conseslus Kipruto eyes fast time in
steeplechase at Birmingham Diamond League   

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 and 9.

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.

World and 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.

World and 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 Caroline Chepkoech.

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