Asbel Kiprop Proves He is the Best 1500m Runner in the Word
by Justin Lagat
After the disappointing performance last year at the London Olympics due to an injury, Asbel Kiprop finally seized the opportunity at the world championships in Moscow to show to the world that he is a man to reckon with in the 1500m. He definitely was in a class of his own as he won the gold medal in 3:36.28. Mathew Centrowitz executed a great finish to take the silver medal in 3:36.78. I would have said he did surprise many, but this was another surprise after the one he did in Daegu, so perhaps we are the ones who surprised him by not expecting him to win the silver! But, one thing I am beginning to notice about him is that this guy seems to do well in blue tracks because the track in Daegu was of the same color with the one in Luzhniki Stadium. Johan Cronje of South Africa caught up with Kenya’s Nixon Chepseba at the finishing line and managed to win the bronze medal in 3:36.83, by a tiny margin of 0.03 micro-seconds!
At the sound of the gun, Asbel Kiprop immediately moved to the front, which was a different style from his usual one of running from behind. The pace was moderate as they crossed the 400m mark in 59 seconds. Nixon Chepseba took over the pace making from him and maintained a gap of about six meters ahead of the rest. We knew Asbel was in great shape and thought the same about Silas Kiplagat too and it looked as though if Chepseba would try his best to run away, the other Kenyans would easily drop the rest of the pack and run to catch up with him and possibly try to win all the three medals. At the bell, Chepseba was still leading and he did exactly what we expected him to do. He started to flee from the chasers. Asbel Kiprop followed, but Silas Kiplagat failed to get out of the pack. Asbel passed Chepseba in the last 100m and began opening a gap from the rest of the field, and the latter began to run out of steam as two other athletes passed him before he crossed the finish line.
Silas Kiplagat’s performance was not what many had expected from him. He was the only athlete in the group to have beaten Asbel Kiprop this year, at the Prefontaine’s Bowerman Mile in Eugene. He had however snuck past Asbel while the other was not aware. They both have been the top athletes in this event from as early as 2011 and almost all the events the two have been in together were easily seen as contests between the two. Kiplagat’s tactic of employing a surprise finishing kick unfortunately did not work for him this time round.
Asbel Kiprop’s win did not come as a surprise. He had shown that he was in the best shape of his life by running a world leading time of 3:27.72 at the Monaco IAAF Diamond League. He had also run a world leading time last year in the same meeting and was the favorite to win the Olympic title in London before the injury prevented him from doing so. Some people had talked – most probably, people who know little about running and do not know what an injury is – badly about his performance in London. Both his poor performance at the Olympic Games and what some people had said after that was perhaps some of the factors that motivated Asbel to train harder this year, just to get the message out straight to his fans that it was purely an injury that prevented him from winning the Olympic gold last year, and not whatever others might have been thinking.