Olympic record holder Conseslus Kipruto is poised to claim the Diamond Trophy tonight when 2016 IAAF Diamond League concludes in Brussels, Belgium. Kipruto, having attained unassailable points from five victories in the current series, only needs to show up for the final race to claim the trophy that he won in 2013.
Four other Kenyans have mathematical chances of winning the coveted trophy in various races and bag the Sh4 million winner-takes-it-all prize money that comes with the trophy.
Helen Obiri, Asbel Kiprop, Elijah Manangoi and Ferguson Rotich will be crowned if they win their 5,000m races tonight. Kipruto leads the steeplechase on 50 points with the closest chaser, Jairus Birech, on a distant 23 points while Kipsiele Koech is third on 20 points.
Little-known Abraham Kibiwott, on 16 points, could finish second if he crosses the line first or second in Brussels as both Birech and Koech opted out of tonight’s event. Helen Obiri faces record breaking Ethiopian Almaz Ayana in the women 5,000m race.
The Kenyan is 14 points behind and needs a lifetime performance to overhaul Ayana from the Diamond Race leadership. Obiri outclassed Ayana in Rio last month to win silver in women 5,000m and needs to replicate her Olympic show in tonight’s Van Dame Memorial to claim the carefully crafted Trophy.
Commonwealth Games champion Mercy Cherono who is two points shy of Ayana is not in the starting list, leaving Obiri, World Cross Country champion Agnes Jebet, African champion Alice Aprot, Viola Kibiwot and Margaret Chelimo to battle the Ethiopian cast which also includes Teferi Senbere and Diro Neda.
Men 1,500m will be a local affair as four Kenyans lead the Trophy chase. Off-colour World Champion Asbel Kiprop leads the log on 34 points with Olympic semi-finalist and world silver medallist Elijah Manangoi six points behind.
Robert Biwott and Ronald Kwemoi complete the top four on respective 12 and 12 points with Souleiman Ayanleh, Abdelaati Iguider and Taoufik Makhloufi chasing. With concerns over Kiprop’s form and Manangoi’s fitness, Kwemoi could steal the show in Brussels but cannot overhaul the leader from trophy chase. Only Manangoi can overtake Kiprop as the rest fell way behind in points’ tally.
Men’s 800m pits race leader Ferguson Rotich and Frenchman Pierre-Ambroise Bosse with Olympic finalist Alfred Kipketer in it with a distant chance. Rotich leads on 33 points with Bosse following on 27 points.
Whoever win among the two will lift the trophy although a Kipketer victory in Brussels aided by Bosse and Rotich’s failures to collect points could hand the former world junior champion the overall victory. 5,000m women: Helen Obiri, Viola Kibiwot, Margaret Chelimo, Alice Aprot, Helen Obiri, Agnes Jebet, Almaz Ayana, Teferi Senbere, Diro Neda.
1,500m men: Bethwel Birgen, Robert Biwott, Collins Cheboi, Timothy Cheruiyot, Vincent Kibet, Asbel Kiprop, Elijah Kipto, Elijah Manangoi, Hillary Ngetich, Andrew Rotich, The 3000m steeplechase men: Nicholas Bett, Clemet Kemboi, Abraham Kibiwott, Brimin Kipruto, Conseslus Kipruto, Lawrence Kipsang, Kipsiele Koech, Abel Mutai. 800m men: Kipyegon Bett, Alfred Kipketer, Jonathan Kitilit and Ferguson Rotich.