© Copyright – 2018 – Athletics Illustrated
Every athletics fan will agree that it is the era of Conseslus Kipruto, El Bakkali Soufiane and Evan Jager in the men’s 3000m steeplechase event.
The three titans will meet again in the final race of the 2018 IAAF Diamond League season in Zurich this Thursday in what promises to be a thrilling race. They have always finished in podium positions in recent world major championships and this race will just look more like another championship race, except that the other runners joining them will have gone through a more rigorous qualification system to reach the finals and it will be only the current world’s leading twelve athletes in this event who will toe the starting line.
El Bakkali of Morocco is the fastest athlete on the start list with a personal best, world-leading time and seasonal best time of 7:58.15 which he recorded last month in Monaco. Besides the impressive performance in Monaco, he just won gold the previous month at the Tarragona Mediterranian Games and a silver medal at the African Senior Athletics Championships earlier this month in Asaba, Nigeria.
But, while El Bakkali has the fastest time, Kipruto has had the highest number of wins this year including beating El Bakkali at the African championships. In a short span of time from 2016, Kipruto has achieved what only very few professional runners can achieve in all their lifetime; he has become an Olympic, World, Commonwealth Games and African champion in one event. He has the advantage of a strong finishing kick that often sees him celebrate with 50m to go in most of his races. The Zurich race will most likely unfold in the same version.
Evan Jager is the other major contender here with an impressive record of being a medallist from both the 2016 Olympic Games and the 2017 World Championships. He races rarely, but when he does, he often comes with some big surprises.
The other nine competitors in this race will also be coming in as equals given that the past Diamond League points will not matter here. The first to cross the finish line will walk away with the trophy and there could be surprises, especially given that Benjamin Kigen has already surprised Kipruto recently to win the Eugene Diamond League race.