Hate him or love him, Kenya's Conseslus Kipruto is still the King of 3000m steeplechase. The holiday is over and the king is coming to take his rightful position
The last two years have been horrendous for the 27-year-old Olympian, seemingly the injuries that had bedeviled Kipruto are now behind him
The two-time world athletics champion and 2016 Olympic champion finished fifth at the Kip Keino classic in Nairobi timing 8:32.76. Being out of competition for two years is a sign of his return.
As he exited the stage, his main rival was Lamecha Girma, Kipruto beat him by one-hundredth of a second to defend his men's 3000m SC title in the 2019 Doha IAAF world championships.
Kipruto will be forced to counter another seismic force from Soufiane El Bakkali of Morocco, the reigning Olympic champion who is even more aggressive than Girma of Ethiopia.
Combining the duo means Kipruto and the team Kenya need to be at their best in the 2022 Oregon world Athletics championship to bring back Kenya's tenacity in the steeplechase.
"We will fight back next time, our country will return back to glory," Kipruto said after Kenya lost the water and barrier event at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Kipruto is burning the midnight oil, as Oregon 2022 World Athletics Championship takes the centre stage. His arduous training has been streamlined into speed and finishing power.
His comeback comes amid an unsuccessful attempt by Kenyans to counter Souffiane El Bakkali and Lamecha Girma during the first leg of the diamond league at Doha, Qatar.
Conseslus Kipruto knows the big onus ahead of him and he will fight tooth and nail to bring back the Kenyan glory. It will not be a walk in the back though.
The last time Kenya lost the Gold medal is during the 2005 World Athletics championship in Helsinki, Finland. Saif Shaheen of Qatar denied Ezekiel Kemboi the victory.
Since the inception of the World Athletics Championship in 1983, only Kenya (13), Qatar (2), Germany (1), and Ita1) have won the steeplechase titles.
It's worth noting that Ethiopia and Morocco are very close to making history should Kenyan fail to defend the title.