World 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop made a great start to his season, posting the fastest time in 800m this season during the third Athletics Kenya Relay Series at the Nyayo National Stadium.
Kiprop, who expressed his desire to tackle the 800m event in the medley relay that has replaced the 4x1,500m, clocked one minute 44.4 seconds to win heat seven that produced the first five fastest times. The medley race has 1,200m, 400, 800m and 1,600m.
Athletics Kenya used the championship to select the athletes who will take part in the national relays final trials due April 1 at Kasarani ahead of the World Championships on May 1 and 2 in Nassau, Bahamas.
The 2008 Beijing Olympic Games 1,500m gold medallist Kiprop (Police) outclassed World Junior champion Alfred Kipketer (Individual) to second place in 1:45.0 as Nicholas Kiplagat (KDF) came in third in 1:45.3.
Former national champion Jeremiah Mutai (Police) and Cornelius Kiplagat (KDF) finished fourth and fifth in 1:45.6 and 1:47.9 respectively.
“It’s a great start to the season and this is part of my preparations for my larger plan that is my world title defence in China in August,” said the 25-year-old Kiprop, who won his maiden World title in 2011 Daegu before defending it in 2013 Moscow.
“I want to pick on 800m in the medley relay since most of our 800m runners will fall into the 4x800m relay team,” said Kiprop, who is eying to make history as the first Kenyan to win a hat trick in 1,500m at the World Championships in August in Beijing.
Kiprop, who has an 800m personal best time of 1:43.15, noted that Kenya will have strong athletes for 4x800 including Olympic champion and World record holder David Rudisha, national champion Ferguson Rotich, 2012 London Olympics 800m bronze medallist Anthony Kitum and World junior champion Alfred Kipketer among others.
“I won’t run my 1,500m specialty for long since I want to refine my speed with the 800m event,” said Kiprop, who will compete in the opening event of the Diamond League in Doha in May followed by Ostrava in June.
Kitum (KDF) won heat six of the 800m in 1:46.2, beating Bernard Kipyego (KDF) 1:46.7 and Rotich (Kericho) 1:47.0. Jonathan Kitilit (KDF) won heat five in 1:47.8 while Abraham Rotich won heat two.
Sylvia Chesebe (Prisons), who was a member in Kenya’s 4x800m team for the World Relays last year, won women’s 800m in 2:04.1, the fastest of the day, beating Annet Mwanzia (Individual) 2:05.6 and Sheila Chesang (GSU) 2:06.6.
National 1,500m champion, Ronald Kwemoi, who is also the commonwealth Games silver medallist, once again posted the fastest time in the race, clocking 3:37.1 to win his semi-final heat four.
The heat produced the top nine times with Abednego Chesebe (Police) coming in second in 3:38.3 followed by Barnard Katui (Southern) 3:38.7.