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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 
Kipruto to carry Kenya flag at Zurich Diamond League

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- Kenyan steeplechase world and Olympic champion Consenlus Kipruto is hopeful his ankle injury will not deny him the chance to end the season on a high note with the Diamond League trophy and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Continental Cup under his belt.

Speaking in Nairobi, Kipruto said he is focused on dominating his specialty after he blew hot and cold throughout the season.

The African champion will lead Kenya’s delegation to the Zurich Diamond League on Thursday.

Kipruto won in the Birmingham Diamond League to remain on course for the Diamond League trophy, but injury concerns have cast a dark shadow on his prospects ahead of the two remaining competitions.

“It was nice to have a win again in Birmingham. However, I must apologize for the slow time recorded. My ankle played up again and I had doubts about competing. I almost failed to start but I didn’t want to let anyone down,” said Kipruto on Monday in Nairobi.

Now Kipruto that has rested to help address the injury concerns, he hopes to be crowned champion in Zurich and at the IAAF Continental Cup in Ostrava, the Czech Republic on Sept 8-9.

“I love being low key. You’ll see me when you’ll see me,” he added. Kipruto will face off against Morocco Soufiane El Bakkali.

The two met in at the Africa Championships in Asaba, Nigeria with Kipruto winning in 8:26.37 ahead of Bakkali with 8:28.01.

Others to look out for are Leonard Bett, Nicholas Kiptanui, Abraham Kibiwott, Ben Kigen, Lawrence Kemboi, Amos Kirui and Kennedy Njiru.

World 3,000 meters steeplechase bronze medalist Evan Jager, will also be in contention alongside Ethiopia risking star Beyo Chala and Matthew Hughes of Canada.

Another Kenyan star eyeing the trophy is Shanghai Diamond League champion Timothy Cheruiyot. Despite holding a big margin in the quest for the Diamond Trophy, Cheruiyot knows winning in Zurich will decide if he retains the trophy or not.

He is yet to lose a Diamond League meeting this season, but has twice lost out when it mattered most to compatriot and world champion Elijah Manangoi in Commonwealth Games and the Africa Championships.

“Final business lies ahead for me in Zurich. As I go back to Europe my mind is on the Diamond trophy,” said Cheruiyot.

World 5,000 meters champion Helen Obiri will be seeking revenge when she lines up against Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba.

Dibaba, who is the world record holder in the 1,500m, beat Obiri at the Prefontaine Classic in the United States in May.

Other Kenyan interests will be held by Agnes Tirop, Lilian Kasait, Eva Cherono, Caroline Chepkoech and Gloria Kite.

           

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