African Games: Sparkling Kigen conquers all to win Kenya gold


African Games: Sparkling Kigen conquers all to win Kenya gold
Kigen shortly after his heroics.PHOTO/Gilbert Kiprotich/ Citizen

In Summary

  • Sparkling Benjamin Kigen has clinched Kenya's first gold medal at the African Games after winning the men's 3,000m steeplechase final this evening at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium here in Rabat.
  • Olympic and World 3,000m steeplechase champion Conseslus Kipruto pulled out of the race with two laps to go while another Kenyan Joash Kiplimo also failed to finish the race after he felled to the ground in the second lap.

Sparkling Benjamin Kigen has clinched Kenya’s first gold medal at the African Games after winning the men’s 3,000m steeplechase final this evening at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium here in Rabat.

Olympic and World 3,000m steeplechase champion Conseslus Kipruto pulled out of the race with two laps to go while another Kenyan Joash Kiplimo also failed to finish the race after he felled to the ground in the second lap.

It was Ethiopia’s duo of Takele Malese and Bayabl  who pushed for an early led with Kipruto and ElBakkali carefully trailing them only for Kipruto to drop out, and Kigen was the only Kenyan left with Bayabl and ElBakalli.

Going to the last lap, it was a fight between Kigen, Bayabl and ELBakkali, with the Moroccan slowly dropping off leaving Kigen and Bayabl in the contest but it was Kigen who had the last laugh as he crossed the line first.

“I am very happy to win because I did not expect things will turn out this way. It is just unbelievable,” said a delighted Kigen after his conquest in Morocco’s administrative capital, Rabat.

The athlete who hails from Baringo county further revealed that he had talked with his compatriots- Conseslus and Kiplimo prior to the race as they had vowed not to let down Kenya’s dominance over the distance.

“We had a talk as a team to work together but I was not even aware that Kipruto (Conseslus) dropped but I am happy the medal has gone home because this is our race and there was no way we were going to let it go,” said Kigen.

In a post race conversation with Citizen Digital, Kipruto disclosed that he is still on the recovery path and had to pull out as a precautionary measure as he steps up his preparation for his title defence at the upcoming World Championship in Doha, Qatar in September.

“On Saturday I did compete at the Paris Diamond League and I had a discomfort on my shoulder and the same recurred today so I opted to pull out to avoid any further complication that may hinder my preparations for the Worlds. I had talked with Kigen prior to the race and I am happy he has delivered the gold,” said Kipruto.

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Story By Gilbert Kiprotich
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