World record runs in Asbel Kiprop’s mind

Wednesday January 20 2016

Gold medallist Asbel Kiprop (left) and silver medallist Elijah Manangoi celebrate after the final of the men’s 1500 metres on August 30, 2015. PHOTO | FRANCK FIFE

Gold medallist Asbel Kiprop (left) and silver medallist Elijah Manangoi celebrate after the final of the men’s 1,500 metres on August 30, 2015. PHOTO | FRANCK FIFE | AFP

By AYUMBA AYODI
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The 2015 Safaricom Sportsman of the Year runner-up Asbel Kiprop believes he can break the World 1,500m record before the Diamond League leg of Monaco and Olympic Games.

Monaco that produced six of the top 10 fastest times ever in the World is due on June 15 while the Olympics Games will be held from August 5 to 21 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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

It was the third fastest time in history in 1,500m, missing the world record of 3:26.00 set by Hicham El Guerrouj in July 1998 in Rome.

Monaco has been a good ground for setting fast times by athletes with six of the top 10 fastest times in the race coming from the place. Kiprop has set four of his best times in Monaco; 2015 (3:26.69), 2014 (3:28.45), 2013 (3:27.72) and 2012 (3:28.88).

“It really doesn’t have to be Monaco. The time can come from any other place as long as I am in good shape,” said Kiprop, who is eying his second Olympic title after 2008 exploits.

Kiprop will compete in three Diamond League legs in Doha, Eugene and Oslo Diamond League due May 6, May 28 and June 9 respectively before turning his focus on the Olympic Games trials.

Unlike before, Kiprop intends to limit his appearances in Diamond races to a few appearances so as to consolidate his energy for the Olympics.  “I have always used the 800m races for speed and build-up but I will only run the two-lap race once at the nationals,” Kiprop, who finished third at the Kenya Police Cross Country Championships on Saturday at Ngong Racecourse, said.

The National Championships are slated for May 26 to 28 at Kasarani while the Olympic Games trials will be held from June 29 to July 2 at the same venue.

Kiprop, who was awarded the 1,500 m gold medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics after the initial winner, Rashid Ramzi, failed a drug test, said: “I hope to do it in great style after I was denied that great moment.”

He has won three World Championship titles in the event, in 2011, 2013 and 2015.

Only El Guerrouj has managed to win the world title four times, and after his third, Kiprop looks forward to joining the Moroccan in such rarefied air.

“El Guerrouj is my idol, and it’s my hope one day to be world champion four times and break the world record,” he said. “I’m trying to join the greats.”