July 27, 2013
2008 Olympic champion Brimin Kipruto returned to the track where he agonizingly saw his chances to become a repeat Olympic champion extinguished when he was tripped in last year’s Olympic final. Kipruto got some redemption this afternoon with a hard-fought narrow victory over fellow Kenyan Gilbert Kirui in the men’s 3000 steeplechase at the 2013 Sainbury’s Anniversary Games in London.
The 27-year old Kipruto was behind the 19-year old Kirui coming off the last barrier in the homestretch but dug deep to win by just .10 , 8:06.86 to 8:06.96 – the fastest two times ever run on British soil. The old British all-comers record was 8:08.11
“I am in good form. I broke a stadium record from my compatriot from last year and I also beat the time that my coach set so I am very happy. It’s great to win,” said Kipruto after the race (official quotes from Organizers). “I’m not going to the world championships so I’m going to keep training for Stockholm and Zurich.”
20-year-old Jairus Birech, who was fourth at the Kenyan Trials (Kipruto was third and Kirui was fifth), was with the leaders at the start of the last lap but ended up a well beaten third in 8:12.51 as he couldn’t find a 58.59 last lap (leader to leader split, Kipruto was slightly faster than that).
Two-time NCAA champ Matt Hughes of Canada, the former Louisville runner, was the first non-Kenyan in fifth in a small pb of 8:20.49 (previous pb 8:21.34). 2013 USA team member De’Sean Turner was sixth in 8:31.25.
Post race analysis, then full results and another race photo appear below.
Quick Take (QT) #1: It’s a travesty the Kenyans have slighted Kipruto and kept him off their World Championship team. The guy is a former World and Olympic champion and was top three at the Kenyan Trials and the Kenyans get to run four at Worlds. Yet, he was kept off of the team in favor of the top two at the Kenyan Trials (Conseslus Kipruto and Abel Mutai), the defending World and Olymipc champ Ezekiel Kemboi and Paul Kipsiele Koech, who won the Diamond League last year when the top Kenyans were getting ready for the Olympics.
At a minimum, the Kenyans should have had Paul Kipsiele Koech, who was named to the team over Kipruto despite finishing last in the Kenyan Trials, race Kipruto here for the final spot. We understand that Kipsiele Koech doesn’t run well at altitude, but the Kenyans should have made him prove himself at sea level – two weeks before the start of Worlds – instead of putting him on the team as the defending Diamond League champion. In his last European race, Kipsiele Koech was beaten by 10+ seconds and only ran 8:09.17. Is there any reason to believe he’s in good form right now?
Last year in the Olympics in an 8:19 race, 57.7 for the last lap got you a medal. Kipruto probably ran about 58.4 tonight in an 8:06 race so he clearly is in shape right now to contend for a medal.
QT #2: As much as we are disappointed about seeing Kipruto get hosed, particularly after his heart-break at last year’s Olympics, it’s good news for US fans as Evan Jager would have a real tough time beating Kipruto in Moscow. If Kipsiele Koech isn’t in form, then he’s one less guy Jager has to upset to steal a medal.
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