World 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop has said he is ready to face double Olympic and World 5,000m and 10,000m champion Mo Farah over the 1,500m distance in Monaco on Friday.
“I know he is in great shape, having seen him compete in Eugene and Lausanne over 5,000m, but I’ll try and win the race,” said Kiprop, who won the National 800m title at Kasarani on July 11.
Interestingly, it’s at the 2013 Monaco Herculis Diamond League where both Kiprop and Farah, who is using the metric mile race for speed, set their personal best in the 1,500m race.
Kiprop floored Farah in a time on 3 minutes 27.72 seconds as the Somali-born Briton settled second in 3:28.81.
“I can’t talk of a world record going down this time but it will be an interesting battle considering his personal best,” said Kiprop, who had planned to break the world record last year in Monaco but failed when Silas Kiplagat beat him to second place.
Kiplagat won in 3:27.64, which elevated him from 10th to fourth on the event's all-time list behind world record-holder Hicham El Guerrouj (3:26.00), Bernard Lagat (3:26.34) and Noureddine Morceli (3:27.37).
“Farah is in a class of his own in 5,000m. His 1,500m personal best tells it all since no Kenyan athlete in 5,000m has that time,” said Kiprop, who has been using the 800m races to refine his finishing kick.
Kenya’s World 5,000m bronze medallist Isaiah Kiplangat has personal best 3:38.7 while the 2008 Beijing Olympics 5,000m bronze medallist Edwin Soi has 3:44.76.
Kiprop said anything can happen in Monaco as he also focuses on defending his title at the World Championships due August 22 to 30 in Beijing, China.
“It’s my dream to become the first person in history to claim a hat-trick of titles over the distance at the Worlds,” said Kiprop.
Even though Kiplagat, who set a world lead time of 3:30.12 with victory in Paris, will miss action, Olympic 1,500m champion, Taoufik Makhloufi from Algeria, is out to challenge Kiprop and Farah in a race that could produce fast times.
Former national champion Ferguson Rotich and World junior champion, Alfred Kipketer will highlight the 800m race that has Commonwealth champion Amos Nijel, who is fresh from winning in Lausanne and World champion, Mohammed Aman from Ethiopia.