Steeplechase champ Kipruto shakes off injury, returns to action in Paris

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NAIROBI, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- Olympic and World steeplechase champion Conseslus Kipruto is due to return to competition two weeks earlier than planned in Paris Diamond League on Aug. 24.

Kipruto, 24, had incurred a foot fracture in May, which ruled him out of competition for up to four months with his agent Michel Boeting saying he was expected to return to action in September.

However, Kipruto has given himself a short in the arm and entered for the Paris Diamond League, where he will compete for the first time this season. His last action was at the Arhus, Denmark World Cross Country Championships in March.

"Kipruto has settled on Paris to make his comeback, having had some time out from the track in May after fracturing his foot," said informs Paris Diamond League organizers.

The Kenyan will face world number one this season, Moroccan Soufiane El Bakkali. The Moroccan, has already posted two wins this season in the Diamond League in Doha (8:07:22) and Monaco (8:04:82).

Organizers hope that the return of Kipruto to action will inject new impetus and urgency in the steeplechase to break the eight-minute barrier for the first time this season.

Alongside the two, there will also be Frenchman Djilali Bedrani who posted a personal best time of 8:09:47 in Monaco in July.

Paris will offer Kipruto a realistic chance to gauge his preparedness ahead of running at the Africa Games, which has its athletics events program starting on Aug. 26-30 in Rabat, Morocco.

Kipruto is also expected to battle El Bakkali for the continental bragging rights.

However, Kipruto is time barred from jostling for the Diamond League trophy defense owing to his lengthy stay out of competition.

There are just five places left up for grabs in the men's 3000m steeplechase, with El Bakkali and Benjamin Kigen of Kenya among the seven who have already secured qualification.

As it stands, the only question is whether 13th placed Takele Nigate, or indeed any athlete who is yet to pick up any points, can squeeze in at the bottom of the top 12 with a good showing in Paris.

Kipruto needs that inspiration to unleash his best kick and force himself in the finals. The men's 3000m steeplechase Diamond League final will take place in Brussels on Sept. 6.

Meanwhile an excellent 1,500m has also been assembled for Paris. Diamond Trophy holder Timothy Cheruiyot has long been sure of his place in the 2019 final thanks to victories in Stockholm, Eugene and Lausanne.

Ayanleh Souleiman, Vincent Kebet and Jakob Ingebrigsten have also already qualified, with both having chalked up a handful of podium finishes on the Road to The Final.

Filip Ingebrigsten looks a safe bet to join the four finalists with 11 points in fifth place, while the likes of Bethwell Birgen, Elijah Manangoi and Marcin Lewandowski will also be confident of a place in the top 12.

Further down, John Gregorek and Ronald Musagala might be looking over their shoulders as they sit just a point or two clear of the chasing pack, with Craig Engels, Clayton Murphy and Ronald Kwemoi all hoping to knock them out of the top 12.

The men's 1500m Diamond League Final will take place in Brussels on Sept. 6. Enditem

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