Kenyan runner Conseslus Kipruto defied the early setback of losing a shoe to win the 3000m men’s steeplechase race in the IAAF Diamond League in Zurich, Switzerland.
Just after coming round a bend, his left shoe flew off his foot and over the track but he didn’t stop.
“That was a mess. But it motivated me to fight as hard as I could, so the race went well,” he said afterwards.
Kipruto is the reigning Olympic and World steeplechase champion.
He outsprinted Morocco’s Soufiane El Bakkali in the final few strides after clearing the final hurdle in second place.
“I am injured because I lost my left shoe,” he said after finishing the race.
He later tweeted: “It was hard and painful to run without another shoe, but I just had strong spirit to never give up, the crowd was amazing and I keep going to the winning.”
Kipruto goes over the last hurdle with Morocco’s Soufiane El Bakkali
After the race, the Kenyan athlete limped off the track, as he waved to the crowd in Zurich.
Kenyans on social media, including Deputy President William Ruto, have been praising Kipruto’s incredible feat:
Our indomitable spirit, determination and strength of character were in display at the Diamond League Final in Zurich as Conseslus Kipruto won the 3,000m steeplechase with one shoe on! Kudos to Hellen Obiri and Timothy Cheruiyot for winning the women’s 5,000m and men’s 1,500m. pic.twitter.com/7KaYhiq4ZB
— William Samoei Ruto (@WilliamsRuto) August 31, 2018
-King Kipruto did an unimaginable winning the trophy despite losing one of his spikes midstream. Bravo!#TopThree3000mSC.
1) Conseslus Kipruto 8:10.15
2) El Bakkali Soufiane 8.10.19
3) Evan Jager 8.13.22@RunKenya @Diamond_League pic.twitter.com/y68qghxV8D
— Gilbert Koech (@koechspoti) August 31, 2018
This is not the first time an athlete has lost a shoe and gone on to win the race.
In 2011, Ethiopian Dejen Gebremeskel won the men’s 3000m race in the Boston Indoor Games, after losing his shoe in the first lap. He beat British athlete Mo Farah.
In 2015, Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge won the Berlin marathon even though his insole had come loose and was hanging out from his shoe.