Ezekiel Kemboi, Brimin Kipruto and Conseslus Kipruto out to ensure the water and barriers Olympic title remains in Kenya.
It was business as usual for Kenya in the men’s 3,000m steeplechase with all three competitors earning their places in the final with ease on Monday.
Olympic and world champion, Ezekiel Kemboi, former Olympic champion Brimin Kipruto and world silver medallist, Conseslus Kipruto, all made a strong statement of their intention to ensure that the water and barriers Olympic title remains in Kenya.
All three breezed through their respective semi-finals heats of an event that is by default Kenya’s foremost speciality at all levels of international competition.
With their passage to the semis, Kenya’s stranglehold on the event looks to extend beyond the 36 years that the title has been in Kenya’s firm grip.
The tone was set by Kemboi who ran an assured and composed race in heat one. At the bell Kemboi, who had been running on the inside, moved to the outside lane at the final water jump but with qualification already guaranteed he drifted further out and slowed down to a third place finish in 8:25.51.
"I’m happy to be in the final. I’m feeling good and we are all trying. About a clean sweep for Kenya that will be decided in the final," said Kemboi.
Stage set for final
Brimin and world silver medallist Conseslus similarly displayed composure by winning their heats in respective times of 8:26.25 and 8:21.40.
Brimin took it easy in heat two slowing down considerably in the final lap to qualify in second place behind American Evan Jager who was timed at 8:25.86.
The third place went to world silver medallist and European champion Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad of France in 8:26.32.
"The competition is top class here but a clean sweep is a must for us in the final, " he said.
Conseslus in his part said that he would do his talking in the final but also expressed confidence that the Kenyan team will do well in the finals.
The top three from each heat plus the next six fastest finishers advanced to the Wednesday final at 5:50pm.
The stage is now set for the final which will also feature Mekhissi-Benabbad, Jager Frenhman Yoann Kowal and Uganda’s Jacob Araptany.
- From left: Kenya’s Conseslus Kipruto, France’s Yoann Kowal, Tunisia’s Amor Ben Yahia compete in the Men’s 3000m Steeplechase Round 1 during the athletics competition at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 15, 2016.