Abraham Kibiwott: Kenya have a long way before reclaiming steeplechase title

ATHLETICS Abraham Kibiwott: Kenya have a long way before reclaiming steeplechase title

Abigael Wafula 18:00 - 25.02.2023

Morocco's Soufiane El Bakali is the current World Champion.

Commonwealth Games 3000m steeplechase champion Abraham Kibiwott strongly believes Kenya has a huge gap to fill before thinking of reclaiming the world title they lost to Morocco's Soufiane El Bakali at the World Championships in Oregon, USA.

Kenya had maintained a winning streak in both the 2017 and 2019 World Championships courtesy of 2016 Olympic champion Conseslus Kipruto but Bakali changed the script last year.

In what was referred to as the slowest final, Bakali obliterated the strong field of athletes to end Kenya's dominance over the distance by clocking 8:25.13.

Ethiopia's Lamecha Girma took second place as 2016 Olympic champion Conseslus Kipruto settled for third place at a time of 8:27.92.

Kibiwott noted that with the lack of legends like four-time world champion Ezekiel Kemboi, it becomes very difficult for them to keep up considering athletes from other countries are also doing their best to fight Kenya's dominance.

"Other athletes are coming up...the likes of Moroccans who now have the experience and strength, it won't be easy," Kibiwott said.

He added that in order for them to realise the dream of reclaiming the title, Athletics Kenya should work to ensure that they at least train as a group and have the legendary athletes pass on their tactics.

During the second AK meeting at Nyayo Stadium, Kibiwott placed second in Category B of the final but his time needed to meet the standards of World Athletics. He clocked 8:46.99 to cross the finish line behind Geoffrey Kipkemboi who also posted a lower time of 8:38.73.

Kibiwott, however, noted that the race was to help him gauge where he stands ahead of the season kick-off.

"I now know I need to work on my speed and improve my tactics of jumping the barriers. With that, I'll be good to go," he said, adding that he is also eyeing a slot in this year's World Championships in Budapest.

He concluded by saying he plans to work on his mentality going forward as it was one of his major undoings last year.

"I want to believe in myself more," he said.