World and Olympic steeplechase champion Conseslus Kipruto’s bid to kick-start his season has suffered a major blow after he was ruled out of next week’s Monaco leg of the Diamond League after testing positive for Covid-19.
Kipruto revealed the setback to Nation Sport on Saturday, a day after completing his preparations for 3,000 metres steeplechase race at Monaco’s Stade Louis II where he had promised a sub eight-minute run.
Kipruto, 25, was among 15 Kenyan athletes who had been cleared to compete in the Monaco leg after getting special dispensation visas to travel to the Schengen area.
Kenya is among countries whose nationals have not been cleared to travel into European Union nations owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The athletes were, however, cleared to travel after Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed and Athletics Kenya President Jack Tuwei intervened on their behalf at the Embassy of France in Nairobi.
The athletes travelling to Monaco are, however, still required to undergo a Covid-19 test 72 hours before the trip.
The rest of the contingent is expected to travel to the principality on Monday.
Kipruto disclosed that he was tested on Thursday at Eldoret’s Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital and the results turned out out positive.
"It's indeed sad that the test came back positive. I don't know where I got it because I have been following the guidelines set by the Ministry of Health," Kipruto told Nation Sport on Saturday.
He said that he was waiting for the officials from the hospital to give him the way forward on management of the condition.
"I am in contact with officials from the hospital and I'm waiting for them to give me the way forward. I don't feel anything (symptoms) for now," said Kipruto.
Kipruto was expected to line up in the steeplechase on Friday alongside compatriots Abraham Kibiwott and Vincent Kipchumba, a pacesetter.
He had told Nation Sport on Thursday that he was keen on building up speed with the world record in his specialty his ultimate goal.
“I have had enough time to train since March when all the races were cancelled owing to the coronavirus pandemic. I am happy I was invited for the Monaco race. I’m looking forward to the race which I want to run under eight minutes,” Kipruto had said on Thursday.
The world record is held by Kenya-born Qatari Saif Saaeed Shaheen (formerly known as Stephen Cherono) at seven minutes, 53.63 seconds.
“I will be using the race to gauge my performance as I prepare to lower the world record time which has been out of the country for a long time. If I’m the Olympic and World champion, what makes it hard for me to break the world record?” posed Kipruto on Thursday.