World steeplechase champion Conselus Kipruto went to the World Champions having appeared in only three races after suffering a long term injury, but after his commanding display in the heats on Tuesday, the Kenyan looks ready for today’s final.
Conseslus who cheekily gave the fans a wave with 200m to go before chatting and gesticulating to his teammate, Benjamin Kigen who finished second in the heat will hit the ground running at 9:45pm.
The duo will be joined by world Under-20 silver medallist Leonard Bett and Commonwealth Games silver medallist Abraham Kibiwott who both made automatic qualifications in their heats.
Kenya has won 12 out of 16 world titles at the water-and-barriers race; with three clean sweeps in Edmonton 2001, Osaka 2007, and Beijing 2015.
“What makes me feel good at the moment is that I know I trained well. And in training I planned to be a world champion, be in the right shape at the right time. And that is why I was smiling today and waving to the Kenyan supporters during the race,” said Conseslus after the heats on Tuesday.
He added: “First, we need to win, either one of us. We need to bring the gold medal home. And then second, with team work we can try to sweep the medals.”
Kigen, 26, has been a constant figure in Diamond League circuit and will be aiming to get his first international medal
“I am targeting only a medal, I’m aware of the battle ahead, I know it will be between Ethiopia, El Bakkali from Morocco and Kenyans,” he said.
The final which promises a high class event will have Diamond League winner Getnet Wale, who won his heat ahead of the chasing Djilali Bedrani of France.
Ethiopia also have teenager Lemecha Girwa who clinched victory in heat two. There is also the world silver medallist Soufiane El Bakkali who finished second in 8.17.96 behind Girwa in heat two.
Elsewhere, Africa 20km race walk champion Samuel Gathimba will be in action tonight. Githimba who made his debut at the World Championships in 2017 in London where he finished 30th in 1:22:52 will hope to better his previous performance.
He won the African Games title in Rabat, Morocco last month.
Meanwhile, Kenya’s defending 5,000m champion Hellen Obiri kept her hopes of defending her title alive after she qualified for Saturday’s final with a fast time of 14:52.13, ahead of Karissa Schweizer of the United States, who clocked a PB of 14:52.41.
Two other Kenyans Margaret Chelimo and Lilian Kasait also booked their places in the final after finishing third and fourth respectively in heat two won by Ethiopia’s Tsehay Gemechu in 15:01.57.
“This was a very important race for us Kenyans, no matter what the pace was. We will be ready for either fast, or slow final. We have prepared well and hopefully win medals for Kenya,” Chelimo said