Kiprop, Birech to star at AK meeting in Mumias

Tuesday February 23 2016

Kenya's Asbel Kiprop celebrates winning the final of the men's 1500 metres athletics event at the 2015 IAAF World Championships at the

Kenya's Asbel Kiprop celebrates winning the final of the men's 1500 metres athletics event at the 2015 IAAF World Championships at the "Bird's Nest" National Stadium in Beijing on August 30, 2015. Kiprop, the three-time world 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop, Silas Kiplagat and Jairus Birech are among star runners on parade at the Athletics Kenya track and field meeting in in Mumias on Friday. PHOTO | OLIVIER MORIN | AFP

By AYUMBA AYODI
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World 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop is among an elite field headed for the second Athletics Kenya Track and Field Meet that starts on Friday at the Mumias Sports Complex.

Interestingly, Kiprop, who finished third in senior men’s 10km race during the Kenya Police Cross Country on January 15, will compete in 5,000m race of the two-day meet.

The 2011 World 1,500m silver medallist Silas Kiplagat, 2015 Diamond League Series 3,000m steeplechase champion Jairus Birech and World junior 1,500m record holder Ronald Kwemoi have all lined up for the 5,000m race that will go down on the last day.

While Kiprop, Kiplagat and Birech will revert to their specialties as the season rolls, Kwemoi, the 2014 Commonwealth Games 1,500m silver medallist, has shifted his gears to 5,000m as he hopes to make the Olympics team.

Kwemoi, 20, who has a personal best of 3:28.81 in 1,500m from 2014 Monaco, ran an impressive 13:16.14 in 5,000m last year in Nobeoka, Japan without a pacesetter.

ELITE ATHLETES

Athletics Kenya public relations officer Evans Bosire indicated that a large field of elite athletes will grace the event by virtue of the track being one of the best murram turf in the country.

“Most didn’t turn up in the opening event in Bondo but Mumias will almost be a full house,” said Bosire.

Some of Kenya’s top sprinters Maureen Jelagat, who is the national 400m champion and her 100m hurdles counterpart Priscilla Tabuda won their respectively races in Bondo.

Kiprop intends to compete in two more local races before heading for the Diamond League as he works out to be in best shape ahead of the Rio Olympics in August.

Kiprop, who is training in Iten, has lined up three Diamond League legs in Doha, Eugene and Oslo due May 6, May 28 and June 9 respectively before turning his focus on the Olympic Games trials.

“My priority is the Olympics but my desire too is to lower my personal best before then which could be a world record,” said Kiprop, who set personal best 3:26.69 from his victory in Monaco last year.

Kiprop, who won the 2008 Olympics title, completed a hat trick of World titles last year in Beijing after Daegu 2011 and Moscow 2013.

Kiplagat, who wants to get his act right this time around after flopping in the last three World Championships and 2012 London Olympics, will compete in three local meets before Doha’s Diamond League.

“I hope all goes well this year since I desire a major title in my cabinet,” said Kiplagat, who won silver at 2011 in Daegu World before finishing sixth at Moscow Moscow and fifth at Beijing 2015.

He settled for seventh place at the 2012 London Olympics.