Conseslus Kipruto in the 3000m steeplechase at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015 (Getty Images) © Copyright
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First impressions – Conseslus Kipruto

After enjoying a near perfect season, Olympic 3000m steeplechase champion and Diamond Race winner Conseslus Kipruto answers our first impressions questions.

First coach

Japter Keter, who is still my coach today. He has been my coach since I was in form three at high school in 2010. My first memory of him was in my first encounter when he told me that I have everything to be a successful runner.

First race

It's hard to remember the first one. One of the earliest races I recall was in Lelmokwo when I ran a 10,000m in standard six. I finished last and was lapped a couple of times by the winner. Back then I thought running was the hardest thing in the world.

First media interview

I was first interviewed by Jonathan Komen of Standard Media after I won the 2000m steeplechase at the 2010 East African Youth Championships in Asmara, Eritrea. It was strange to be asked all those questions.

First international competition

It was that same competition in Asmara. To win the 2000m steeplechase there was beautiful in my eyes. Asmara was such a clean-looking city.

First sport

Football and I played as a striker (number nine). I was not too bad and I was selected to represent my county at provincial level. I stopped when I was in form three and my principal refused me to play because he wanted me to focus on running.

First international medal

It was my gold medal in Asmara. I was, of course, very proud, but I knew I wanted more.

First athletics disappointment

It came at the 2012 Olympic Trials. The week before, I had easily won the junior trials in a time of 8:21 (at altitude) and I believed I had a chance to make the Olympic team. However, during the last two laps of the final at Olympic Trials I lost all energy and finished sixth. I couldn’t understand how I had not made the team and I cried for most of the rest of the day. I bounced back by winning the world U20 title the next month in a championship record of 8:06. Then a week later I won my first Diamond League in Monaco in a PB of 8:03.49. 

First athletics injury

My back and hamstring gave me problems in 2014. I missed the start of the season and later that campaign it continued to give me problems. I basically lost a full season because of it. I only became free of the injury problems in 2015.

First sporting hero

The Ivory Coast footballer Didier Drogba. I liked his style of play. I remember one goal he scored for Chelsea when he appeared to turn 360 degrees.

First toy

There were no toys at home when I was a child, but I made my own car out of iron wire. That’s what we did; we made our own toys.

First thing learned to cook

I cooked when I was younger, but not anymore. Ugali was the first dish I was taught to make. My mother taught me.

First car

Toyota Premio. I bought it in Mombasa. I drove it for about a year and a half and then I traded it for a Toyota SUV. It is a very reliable car and in Kenya Toyota cars can easily be maintained and repaired.

First pet

In Kenya we don’t keep animals in the house but we had a dog at home which stayed outdoors for security reasons. His name was Simba (means ‘Lion’). One day I was in the centre of my village and someone wanted to fight me because I had made fun of him. Then Simba came to the rescue and saved me. He was also very good at hunting small animals.

Steve Landells for the IAAF