Steeplechase champ targets world record, Olympic gold in 2020 season

Source: Xinhua| 2019-10-09 20:25:50|Editor: ZX
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NAIROBI, Oct. 9 (Xinhua) -- Olympic and world 3,000m steeplechase champion Conseslus Kipruto said he will go for the world record in 2020 after shaking off his foot injury and retaining the world title.

"All the people know that I was injured since May. I only returned last month and was struggling to return to my best form, which I now feel, am 80 percent ready," Kipruto said on Wednesday.

The 24-year-old, having won every title in the sport, believed smashing the world record is the only hurdle left for him ahead of the new season in 2020.

Former Olympic champion Brimin Kipruto (7:53.64) and Paul Kipsiele Koech (7:54.31) have both come close to breaking the world record in Monaco eight years ago.

Brimin missed out by just 0.01 seconds to break the 7:53.63 world mark, which Saif Saaeed Shaheen, a fellow Kenyan who switched allegiance to Qatar in 2003, achieved in 2004 in Brussels.

Kipruto showed his zeal retaining his world title when not 100 percent fit at the just-concluded world championships in Doha, Qatar. Now he has thrown down the gauntlet to his opponents ahead of the Olympics in Tokyo next year.

"If I could not lose in Doha when I was not fully fit then you should expect a lot more from me in 2020 season and at the Olympic Games," Kipruto said.

The Africa champion has now laid his mark and wants anyone to challenge him saying it is time to bring the world record back home.

"Everybody acknowledges that steeplechase belongs to Kenya. After so long, Ethiopia has had its first medal. Why not go and bring the world record home where it rightfully belongs?" Kipruto said.

To break the record, Kipruto will have to, first of all, be able to run the water and hurdle race in less than eight minutes. His best time stands at 8:00.12, which he set in Birmingham back in 2016. That is almost seven seconds off the world mark.

However, he showed his intent by not only retaining his title in Doha but doing it in almost a personal best time when he clocked 8:01.35 when he was only 80 percent fit.

"People love to watch us run and steeplechase is a Kenyan affair. It is not right that we celebrate the success of Kenya in this race, yet the record lies elsewhere. For this reason, I am going to work for that and hopefully, I can achieve that next year," adds Kipruto.

For now, he will retreat to his home in Eldoret and enjoy his time off and hope to return to action early in 2020 to compete in cross country and then set his focus on the track to break the water and hurdle record.