World 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop is under pressure to perform as he takes his battle to Stockholm’s Diamond League Sunday evening.
Kiprop, who will be gunning for his fourth consecutive World title in London in August, failed in his bid to defend his Bowerman Mile race crown at the Prefontaine Classic on May 27 in Eugene.
It’s fast-rising youngster Ronald Kwemoi, who won in a world leading 3min,49.04sec as Kiprop, who was competing in his first race since winning gold in mixed relays at Kampala during World Cross Country Championships in March, came 13th in 3:58.24.
Kiprop then competed at the National Championships from June 8-10 at the Nyayo National Stadium where he finished third behind Timothy Cheruiyot and Justus Soget. “I still need to shade off some weight as I started training very late,” said Kiprop, who hopes to be at least 70 per cent fit during the World Championships trials set for Friday and Saturday next week at the Nyayo National Stadium.
“I am 50 per cent fit but I should reach the peak right on time for London,” said Kiprop, adding that his poor showing in Prefontaine was occasioned by strong antibiotics he had taken before the race to suppress a flu.
Kiprop, the 2008 Olympic 1,500m champion, will again come against Cheruiyot and World Under-20 1,500m champion Kumari Taki, who is battling to attain the World Championships qualifying time.
With World 1,500m silver medallist Elijah Manangoi, who won in Doha before finishing second at Prefontaine Classic and Oslo respectively missing in action, the Kenyans face an interesting challenge especially from Alsadik Mikhou of Bahrain, who boasts of the world lead time of 3:31.34 from his victory in Hengelo World Challenge on June 11.
Moroccan Abdelaati Iguider, the 2015 World 1,500m bronze medallist and 2014 World Indoor 1,500m silver medallist Aman Wote from Ethiopia are also seeking honours in the Swedish capital.
KIPRUTO, KEMBOI OUT
African Games 3,000m steeplechase champion Clement Kemboi has an opportunity to claim his maiden Diamond League victory in men’s 3,000m steeplechase where top guns Olympic champion Conseslus Kipruto and World champion Ezekiel Kemboi are not drawn.
The other Kenyans in the race are African Games 3,000m steeplechase silver medallist Lawrence Kemboi, former World Under-18 2,000m steeplechase silver medallist Nicholas Kiptanui and Barnard Ng’ang’a.
No Kenyan will compete in women’s 800m after Olympic 800m silver medallist Margaret Nyairera withdrew after she sustained a heel injury in Oslo where she finished third behind South Africa’s Caster Semenya and Francine Niyonsaba from Burundi.
Semenya is also not in action to give Niyonsaba an opportunity but she faces European champion Lynsey Sharp and World 800m bronze medallist Jennifer Meadows all from Britain.
RACES (EAT TIME)
5:52pm- Men 3000m Steeplechase
6:28pm- Men 1500m
6:53pm- Women 800m