Kiptanui may not have been at the Olympic Games, but he is presently the hottest property on the IAAF / Mobil Grand Prix circuit. In breaking records he is doing what promoters and, more importantly, the public want.
Kiptanui, with no gold medal, stole the show in Zurich two days ago with his remarkable steeplechase record, backing up the 3,000m flat success he achieved in Cologne last weekend. The Kenyan, who said yesterday he believes he is 22 and not 20 as quoted in official record books, is the one everybody wants to watch.
Apart from his Cologne bonuses and Wednesday's appearance fee, he earned an extra dollars 15,000 (pounds 8,000) for breaking the world record. Just for good measure the Union Bank of Switzerland deposited 1kg of gold in his bank account as a gift.
Here tonight the Kenyan was supposed to race over a mile. This morning his management proposed that he should attempt to break Aouita's world mark. After the exertions of Zurich, the steeplechase was out of the question.
Promoter Rudi Thiel hurriedly spoke with his four main sponsors, plus the Hamburg marketing firm, UFA, who will look after the broadcasting interests of the 'Golden Four' meetings in Zurich, Berlin, Brussels and Oslo from next year, to raise the cash. He came up with dollars 20,000 within 35 minutes just for Kiptanui to step on to the track. If he breaks the record, a further dollars 25,000 will ensure his earnings for the last week will exceed six figures.
World record attempts need pacemakers. David Kibet, a fellow Kenyan who won the Dream Mile in Oslo at the beginning of July, has volunteered and he will be joined by Pascal Thiebaut, of France, the Algerian, Nasser Brahmia, and Matthew Yates, who reappears after Barcelona, where his family rows earned him more publicity than his performances on the track.
Berlin have taken the unprecedented step of insuring themselves if more than one world record is broken in the Olympic Stadium this evening. Even with their generous budget, they are still conscious of saving wherever possible.
Other highlights include the return to action of Linford Christie. He may not be facing Carl Lewis, but the rest of the opposition is reminiscent of the Olympic final. He will need to have shaken off any niggling injuries. Lewis looks set to run the 200, having withdrawn from the long jump, where he would have met the world record-holder, Mike Powell.
Olympic champion Mark McKoy returns to action in the 110m hurdles against Colin Jackson. The Welshman could have done with the Canadian's presence to push him harder in Zurich, but tonight could be another memorable clash.Reuse content