Conseslus Kipruto extended a three-decade reign for Kenyan-born men in the 3000m steeplechase by one hundredth of a second.
Kipruto, the reigning Olympic and world champion, repeated at the world championships in Doha with a gutsy kick in the final straightaway. He edged past Ethiopian Lamecha Girma in the final stride, clocking 8:01.35 to Girma’s 8:01.36.
A Kenyan or a Kenyan-born man has won every Olympic and world title in the steeple since the 1988 Seoul Games.
“I said I’m going to win, I’m going to take the victory to Kenya,” Kipruto said. “That’s what I promised the nation before we came to the start line.”
That streak, longest for any nation in any event, was in doubt this year. Kipruto was sidelined by a stress fracture in his left foot until opening his season extremely late on Aug. 24. He came into worlds ranked 17th in the world on best times this season.
But he ran the world’s fastest time this year on Friday.
Kipruto, 24, does his regular training in Mosoriot not on a track, but a grass field where dirt lanes have been carved out by foot tread of thousands of laps. Kipruto uses hurdles for steeple barriers in training and does not have any kind of water pit.
Kipruto reportedly tried other unorthodox training while injured. He built a pool in his backyard to aqua jog, according to track journalist Cathal Dennehy.
NBC Olympics senior researcher Alex Azzi contributed to this report.
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