Jairus Birech, a surprise winner of the 3000m steeplechase at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Rome (© Gladys Chai von der Laage)
The IAAF Diamond League in Rome on 2 June will have the first four men home in the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015 3000m steeplechase, all Kenyans, on the start line of the event at the Golden Gala Pietro Mennea, the meeting organisers announced on Tuesday (24).
The presence Ezekiel Kemboi was confirmed last week and the four-time world champion will be joined by his compatriots Conseslus Kipruto, Brimin Kipruto and 2015 Diamond Race winner Jairus Birech.
The trio finished second, third and fourth respectively behind Kemboi in the Chinese capital.
Conseslus Kipruto has already won the first two legs in this Diamond Race discipline in Doha and Rabat in convincing fashion, running a world-leading time of 8:02.77 at the latter venue on Sunday despite celebrating down the home straight and easing up, and he will be looking for a third successive win in this summer's series to progress his bid to recapture the Diamond Rece he won in 2013.
The world record of 7:53.63 was set by Qatar’s Saif Saeed Shaheen in 2004 but there is a possibility of a fully-fledged attack on this mark in Rome and certainly all four men have the credentials to launch a credible attempt to improve this 12-year-old standard.
Brimin Kipruto missed Shaheen’s world record by just 0.01 in Monaco five years ago, Kemboi is the sixth fastest runner in history with 7:55.76 and Birech, the 10th fastest with his personal best of 7:58.41 set in 2014.
Birech also won in Rome two years ago when the discipline was last staged at gthe meeting in the famous 1960 Olympic stadium, one of six victories in IAAF Diamond League meetings that summer when he got the first of his two Diamond Race titles.
Conseslus Kipruto has yet to break eight minutes but, on the evidence in Rabat when he also said he was saving himself for races later in the season, the 22-year-old former world youth and junior steeplechase champion could join that elite club in Rome.
Organisers for the IAAF
2016 IAAF Diamond League calendar
6 May – Doha, QAT
14 May – Shanghai, CHN
22 May – Rabat, MAR
28 May – Eugene, USA
2 Jun – Rome, ITA
5 Jun – Birmingham, GBR
9 Jun – Oslo, NOR
16 Jun – Stockholm, SWE
15 Jul – Monaco, MON
22-23 Jul – London, GBR
25 Aug – Lausanne, SUI
27 Aug – Paris, FRA
1 Sep – Zurich, SUI
9 Sep – Brussels, BEL