NAIROBI, May 2 (Xinhua) -- World and Olympic 3,000m steeplechase champion Conseslus Kipruto will skip the first leg of the lucrative Diamond League meeting in Doha on Friday citing a foot injury.
Kipruto, however, believes he will recover in time for the third leg of the Diamond League in Rome later this month, where he intends to launch his season campaign with hope it will climax with victory at the World Championships in Doha, Qatar in October.
"I have a foot injury, which I picked up in training and will not be risking it to put a lot of pressure on my foot in Doha. I hope to be better and in fit form by the third round of the Diamond League," he said on Thursday.
His absence, however will not water down the level of competition from elite Kenyans in the water and hurdle race.
Moroccan rival Soufiane El Bakkali, who finished second to the Kenyan at last year's Diamond League final in Zurich in one of the season's most dramatic and unforgettable contests.
Like most of the field, he'll be making his 2019 debut.
The field also includes Kenyans Amos Kirui, the 2016 world Under-20 champion and Commonwealth bronze medalist last year, and Benjamin Kigen, the winner in Rabat last year with an 8:06.19 personal best.
"It is a new chapter for me as I intend to break into the senior ranks and carve my own niche in an event that has many stars from Kenya. I hope to get my own space in this chocking field with good performances in the Diamond League and make the Kenya team to the World Championships," said Kirui.
Last year, Kipruto proved that it was winning rather than time that was critical as he put his form on the line to prove his critics wrong that he is still the best in the water and hurdle race. Running with one shoe, he held on to secure the Diamond Trophy, which he is keen to defend in 2019.
"I have big pain in my foot," said Kipruto. There is a prize of 5 million shillings (200,000 U.S. dollars) for each final winner of the Diamond Trophy at the end of the season.
However, for each of the 14-stops of the Diamond League that athletes contest each race winner pockets 10,000 dollars in prize money.
Last year, Kipruto (3,000m steeplechase) together with Timothy Cheruiyot (1,2000m), Beatrice Chepkoech (3,000m SC) and Hellen Obiri (5,000m) all retained their Diamond Trophies in their respective disciplines.
The Diamond League has stops in Asia (Doha, Qatar) and Shanghai, China, Europe (12 legs), Africa (Rabat) and USA (Oregon).