Conseslus Kipruto returns to action in Paris

Conseslus Kipruto [Reuters]

Olympic 3,000m steeplechase champion Conseslus Kipruto returns to action at the 12th stop of the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Paris, France, tonight.

Conseslus, the world and Commonwealth Games champion over the distance, has been out of action over a tendon injury lines up in his first Diamond League race of the season -- since his dramatic one-shoe victory in last year’s Diamond League finals in Zurich.

But he competed at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships mixed relay team in Aarhus, Denmark, last March.

Kipruto will be up against Soufiane El Bakaali of Morocco whom he beat at the 2018 Diamond League title in Zurich. The Moroccan holds the world leading time of 8:04.82, but he may not carry painful memories of last year’s Diamond League final in Zurich, where Kipruto outran him in the closing stages to claim the title.

Other Kenyans in the event include Benjamin Kigen, Abraham Kibiwot, Amos Kirui and Nicholas Kiptanui.

With Timothy Cheruiyot, the current 1500m leader and world Champion Elijah Manangoi missing out after taking part in national championships, Bethwell Birgen, Vincent Kibet and Brimin Kiprono shoulder Kenyan hopes in 1500m. They will face an uphill task against Norwegian brothers Jakob and Filip Ingebrigtsen. The 18-year-old Jakob, the European 1500 and 5000m champion, ran 3:30.47 as he finished second to Kenya’s world silver medalist Cheruyiot in Monaco last month.

Djibouti’s Ayanleh Souleiman, fifth in Monaco in 3:31.38, is also in the field, alongside Ethiopia’s 19-year-old IAAF world indoor champion Samuel Tefara. Add into that mix is Morocco’s London 2012 bronze medalist Abdelaati Iguider and three-time Olympic medalist Taoufik Makhloufi, who disappeared from the sport in 2017 and 2018, is set to run the 1500m, his first Diamond League meet since 2016 final in Brussels. 

Meanwhile, Paris is good karma for Turkey’s Ramil Guliyev, who won the 200m in Stade Charlety in 2017, the last time it was a Diamond League race here, and went on to secure the world title in London.

But Guliyev didn’t have to race against Noah Lyles on that occasion. The 22-year-old from Gainesville, Florida, leads this year’s world list with the 19.50 he recorded at the Lausanne Diamond League, which put him fourth on the all-time list, and he will be ready to inflict another defeat on the world champion similar to the one he managed in last year’s DL final.

On a track newly-laid ahead of next year’s European Athletics Championships, the organisers have laid on an 800m that will, among other things, enable home runner Pierre-Ambroise Bosse to test himself after hamstring injury. Also on the programme will be a triathlon that will enable France’s world decathlon record holder Kevin Mayer to hone his form ahead of the IAAF World Athletics Championships that start in Doha next month.

Karsten Warholm will seek to get his season back on the move after being obliged to miss the European Athletics Team Championships League One meeting in his native Norway earlier this month because of a stomach problem. The world 400m hurdles champion was a distant third in Paris last year as his newly-emerged rival Abderrahman Samba of Qatar ran the second-fastest time ever, 46.98, and Kyron McMaster followed him home in a British Virgin Islands record of 47.54.

While Samba, who has reportedly been troubled with bursitis this season, is not in the race, McMaster is. In the course of this season, however, Warholm has lowered his own European record to 47.33, and, in London last month, to 47.12.