3. CONSESLUS KIPRUTO
Conseslus Kipruto produced one of the standout performances in Athletics at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. The 21 year old dethroned teammate and veteran, Ezekiel Kemboi to win GOLD in the men’s 3000m Steeplechase with an Olympic Record (OR) of 8:03.28, while USA’s Evan Jagger followed in 8:04.28.
The former World Youth and Junior Champion had been tipped as Kemboi’s successor since winning Silver behind the 34-year old at the 2013 and 2015 editions of the World Championships. However, going by his blazing from this season, succumbing to his only defeat at the Kenyan National Trials, perhaps even Kemboi would have admitted that he didn’t stand a chance as far as the youngster was concerned.
Unfortunately, Kemboi initially finished 3rd at the Rio Games but was eventually disqualified for stepping on the inside of the track. Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad of France was upgraded to the Bronze medal position, a development which led to Kemboi postponing his retirement until after the London 2017 World Championships.
Kipruto has dominated the IAAF Diamond League this year, snatching victories in Doha, Rabat, Rome, Birmingham and Monaco, thus building an unassailable leading ahead of the final in Brussels where he hopes to smash Saif Saaeed Shaheen’s World Record (WR) of 7:53.63 set in 2004. He said, “The World Record is on my mind. It depends on pacemakers, but I will try in Brussels. I think I can.”
Kipruto owns six of the Top 10 fastest times in the world this year, and aims to extend his unbeaten run to the 2017 World Championships where he will hope to clinch his first world title at senior level, putting him in the class of the likes of Usain Bolt, Kirani James, Veronica Campbell-Brown, Valerie Adams, Yelena Isinbayeva, and David Storl who have won World titles at Youth, Junior and Senior levels. That will be the perfect icing on the cake!