Kenyan Conseslus Kipruto‘s unorthodox brand of training for an unorthodox event is coming in handy during the coronavirus pandemic.
Kipruto, the Olympic and world 3000m steeplechase champion, doesn’t train with a steeplechase barrier or a water pit, even during normal times.
Now at home, he set up what appear to be furniture cushions to hurdle. And a mostly drained pool to mimic the water jump, shown in a BBC video.
Kipruto, a 25-year-old raised with four siblings by a single mom, reportedly built the backyard pool to aqua jog while recovering from a stress fracture in his left foot last year.
He was known to do 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 is the latest king from a Kenyan steeple dynasty, but his origin story may be one of a kind. After playing soccer growing up, he tried track at the urging of his uncle Cleophus. As a 1500m runner, he missed making a two-man team by placing third at a county championships. The trials didn’t include a steeple for lack of barriers, so they asked for volunteers.
“I was the first to put my hand up because I was keen to compete at that next level,” Kipruto said in 2018, according to World Athletics. “Even though I ran barefoot and I had never jumped a steeplechase barrier, I won my very first steeplechase race.”
If Serena Williams is to win a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title at the French Open, she may have to go through her older sister in the fourth round.
Williams, the sixth seed, could play Venus Williams in the round of 16 at Roland Garros, which begins Sunday.
Serena opens against countrywoman Kristie Ahn, whom she beat in the first round at the U.S. Open. Serena could then get her U.S. Open quarterfinal opponent, fellow mom Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria, in the second round.
If Venus is to reach the fourth round, she must potentially get past U.S. Open runner-up Victoria Azarenka in the second round. Azarenka beat Serena in the U.S. Open semifinals, ending the American’s latest bid to tie Margaret Court‘s major titles record.
Venus lost in the French Open first round the last two years.
The French Open top seed is 2018 champion Simona Halep, who could play 2019 semifinalist Amanda Anisimova in the third round.
Coco Gauff, the rising 16-year-old American, gets 2019 semifinalist Jo Konta of Great Britain in the first round in the same quarter of the draw as Halep.
The field lacks defending champion Ash Barty of Australia, not traveling due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Also out: U.S. Open winner Naomi Osaka, citing a sore hamstring and tight turnaround from prevailing in New York two weeks ago.
Rafael Nadal was put into the same half of the French Open draw as fellow 2018 and 2019 finalist Dominic Thiem of Austria, with top-ranked Novak Djokovic catching a break.
Nadal, trying to tie Roger Federer‘s male record 20 Grand Slam singles titles, could play sixth-seeded German Alexander Zverev in the quarterfinals before a potential clash with Thiem, who just won the U.S. Open.
Djokovic, who is undefeated in 2020 save being defaulted out of the U.S. Open, could play No. 7 seed Matteo Berrettini of Italy in the quarterfinals before a possible semifinal with Russian Daniil Medvedev.
Medvedev is the fourth seed but is 0-3 at the French Open. Another possible Djokovic semifinal opponent is fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, who reached the fourth round last year.
The most anticipated first-round matchup is between three-time major champion Andy Murray and 2015 French Open champion Stan Wawrinka. In Murray’s most recent French Open match, he lost in five sets to Wawrinka in the 2017 semifinals.