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Olympic champ Kipruto adds stardust to Antrim showpiece

By Brian Hill

The organisers of the big IAAF Cross Country International at Greenmount on Saturday are delighted that current Olympic 3,000m steeplechase champion Conseslus Kipruto of Kenya has decided to compete.

He will be making one of his rare cross country appearances at Antrim in what is one of just 12 IAAF World Cross Country permit meetings.

The 22-year-old upset the odds in the final in Rio to leave the opposition in his wake in the home straight, commencing his celebrations before even crossing the line. He had fought a tough battle with Evan Jager who forced the pace in the closing stages but the Kenyans bagged their ninth consecutive Olympic gold, Kipruto securing his first major senior title by one second over the American in eight minutes 3.28 seconds.

Kipruto's win was all the more memorable as he also defeated double Olympic champion Ezekiel Kemboi who was disqualified for stepping inside the track.

Kipruto's Rio victory simply reflected his World No1 rating last year which involved three Diamond League victories including a world leading time of eight minutes in Birmingham.

In the 8k event at Greenmount Kipruto can expect strong opposition from fellow Rio steeplechaser Soufiane El Bakkali of Morocco. He was fourth in the Olympics and recently finished third in the Moroccan Championships.

Olympic 10,000m finalist Abraham Cheroben of Bahrain will also be racing.

Top Great Britain racer Andy Vernon will be fully stretched in such a quality field.

Belfast Telegraph

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