Olympic steeplechase champion Kipruto fails to make Kenya's team

·3 min read

Olympic 3000m steeplechase champion Conseslus Kipruto and world and Commonwealth 1500m gold medallist Timothy Cheruiyot are out of Olympic contention for Kenya after coming up short in the trials on Saturday.

Kipruto, a two-time world champion whose preparations have been overshadowed by sex assault allegations and poor form, pulled out of the final after only two laps, in the race won by Leonard Bett.

"I wasn't sure whether I was going to win," Bett told AFP. The 20-year-old will fly Kenya's flag in the men's steeplechase, a traditional stronghold of the East African country.

Cheruiyot, the world's top-ranked 1500m runner since 2018, finished fourth behind the winner Charles Simotwo and so failed to gain a place in the 43-member team for the July 23-August 8 Tokyo Games.

Cheruiyot appeared to have picked up an injury in a tactical race which saw the top six finishers run under the Olympic qualifying time of 3min 35:00 sec.

United States-based 800m star Michael Saruni booked his place at the Games, four years after being controversially dropped from the 2017 world championship team for finishing third at the trials.

"I am ready for the Olympics," said the University of Texas-El Paso student, who beat world bronze medallist Ferguson Rotich into second place.

"I have some unfinished business like Diamond League as a build-up before the games."

On-form Mary Moraa won the women's 800m race in 2:00:57 ahead of Jarinter Mawia (2:01.32) while 2013 world champion Eunice Sum came third.

World 5000m champion Hellen Obiri triumphed in the women's 10,000m, two days after finishing second in her speciality and will now attempt the double in Tokyo.

The last Kenyan woman to win a 10,000m/5000m double was Vivian Cheruiyot in the 2011 world championships in Daegu but in the longer distance Obiri will face intense competition from new world record holder Letesenbet Gidey of Ethopia and Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands.

Kenya are an athletics powerhouse who finished 15th and as the top African nation at the 2016 Rio Olympics, with a total of 13 medals: six gold, six silver and one bronze.

Selected results

Men

800m

1. Michael Saruni 1:43:70

2. Ferguson Rotich 1:43:54

3. Emmanuel Korir 1:43:69

1500m

1. Charles Simotwo 3:32:75

2. Kamar Etyang 3:33:02

3. Abel Kipsang 3:33:12

4. Timothy Cheruiyot 3:34:36

5000m

1. Nicholas Kimeli 13:02:87

2. Daniel Simui13:05:05

3. Samuel Chebole 13:17:45

3000m steeplechase

1. Leonard Bett 8:17:26

2. Abraham Kibiwott 8:17:61

3. Benjamin Kigen 8:21:32

Javelin

1. Julius Yego 75.58m

2. Duncan Kinyanjui 72.23m

3. Alex Kiprotich 71.20m

Women

800m

1. Mary Moraa 2:00:67

2. Jarinter Mawia 2:01:32

3. Eunice Sum 2:01:82

10,000m

1. Hellen Obiri 30:53:60

2. Irene Cheptai 31:06:86

3. Sheila Chelangat 31:10:27

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