NAIROBI, Dec. 10 (Xinhua) -- Olympic champion Conseslus Kipruto says it might take longer to break the steeplechase world record now that the discipline was chopped off the lucrative Diamond League series.
However, Kipruto, 24, says he is still the right candidate to deliver the blow that will end Qatari Saif Saeed Shaheen's 16-year-old mark of 7:53.63.
Though injury and stiff competition blurred Kipruto's focus in the last three seasons, he is optimistic the 2020 season, which will culminate with him seeking to retain his Olympic gold medal, will offer him the stage to live his dream.
The Kenyan prodigy is enthusiastic to take the challenge in his stride, literally. "I still nurse the dream to one day break the world record. It has stood tall for so long and Kenya needs to have it home," said Kipruto on Tuesday from Eldoret.
While the inspiration to set a new world mark is burning deep in him, the loss of stature for the water and hurdle race that prompted it to be cut from the top series event for the Diamond League will make it hard to any athlete to go for the world record.
Kipruto, who has a personal best time of 8:00.12 from the 2017 Birmingham Diamond League, attained two years ago, plans to start by improving on his mark to run the race in less than eight minutes.
"Only a few Kenyans, Paul Kipsiele, Brimin Kipruto, the Beijing Olympics champ, and legendary Ezekiel Kemboi have attained that feat. I will start with that and then see what happens next," he added.
But with a low key show in the Diamond League, Kipruto has warned it will take something exceptional to invite top field to push any athlete to go for the record.
He says it is important to have the top meetings to gauge each athlete's ability and fitness ahead of major competitions like the World Championships and the Olympics.
It is these build-up competitions that most athletes use to break the record and announce to the world their potential.
"The decision to ax steeplechase out of Diamond League is to make it hard for any potential challengers. But I have not lost hope. That dream will soon come to fruition, despite the injustice done to us athletes," he added.
Last year Kipruto struggled with injuries and only announced his return to top form in the final race at the World Championships, which he won with the smallest of margins in Doha, Qatar to retain Kenya's history and firm the country's grip on the race.
"Injuries are part and parcel of every athlete. When they come, you must learn to listen to your body. But how you manage and rehabilitate your body and make the comeback is all that matters. But now despite that bodily demand, we have to work on getting the best track, competitors, and inspiration to attempt world records. It will slow us down.
"Getting platforms like Diamond League with top rivalry and so much at stake is what helps one to gauge the level of preparedness. If you miss that then you can't be really sure what to expect," said Kipruto.
Should he attain his goal to break the world record, Kipruto will leave his chances open and one may be able to go a gear up to the road races. Only time will tell.