Asbel Kiprop, photo by PhotoRun.net
Asbel Kiprop is athletic royalty. His fearlessness in racing is part of his popularity. Kiprop makes no excuses, racing at his best and not so best.
In this interview, Justin Lagat gives us an insider’s view of Asbel Kiprop and the way Kiprop sees this very important season.
Interview with the 1500m Olympic and World Champion, Asbel Kiprop, by Justin Lagat
There is always bound to be a surprise when one meets a star athlete for an interview; after all, there would be no reason for the interview if you already knew what the athlete was going to say. Asbel surprised me when I visited him in Iten earlier this week. He said he is considering running the marathon! I tried to imagine Asbel Kiprop, the 1500m track specialist tackling a marathon course and could hardly get a vivid imagination about it. Noticing my perplexity, he explained it more.
“I don’t plan on doing it soon. Maybe I will do it in 2018 after trying first with a half marathon race. It may be hard to imagine, but most people also never imagined that Mo Farah could finish the London Marathon less than a year after we ran the 1500m race in Monaco together. If Farah could do it, why can’t I?” Kiprop asked.
1. His Plans for this year:
The main achievement that Asbel has for this year is to win the world championship title again in the men’s 1500m event and make it three in a row. He has decided not to run many races this year ahead of the world championships and he will be running the 800m races mostly in the few races he will run, safe for the Pre Classic IAAF Diamond League where he will run in the mile.
“I like running in the 800m event because it sharpens my speed for the 1500m races,” said the two times world champion. If he will get approval from Kenya’s head coach to the world championships this year, he hopes to double in the 800m and 1500m events in Beijing. But, he knows that there is a lot of talent in the country and that the team management may decide to restrict athletes to run only in one event so that other athletes may get a chance to represent the country too.
Kiprop, who already has a wild card from the IAAF to run in Beijing, says that he still plans to participate in the Kenyan trials. “If you don’t compete in Kenya, you may not get other hard competitions out there that will harden you enough to run successfully at the world championships,” Kiprop said, adding that the competition at the world championships is no longer as it used to be; it keeps getting more competitive each year.
2. Why he runs in local races in Kenya
In as much as Asbel would like to give chances to other upcoming athletes to win the local races in Kenya and appear on internet and newspapers, he also understands that local sponsors who sponsor these races would want to see international stars participating in them so that they can get more media coverage and be encouraged to keep sponsoring the races.
3. About his coach
He trains under coach David Leting and what he likes about him is that he understands that athletes also want to achieve the best. “He is respectful and talks well with athletes. He is not like some other coaches who may shout much at you and quarrel as if you do not know what you are doing, or what you are after.”
His coach is always present at the track when he is doing interval workouts. In other days, he can just tell him what to do.
4. His thoughts on doping
“Doping is the only big challenge that our sport is facing currently, otherwise it is so far growing and doing very well in general. If only doping will be contained, then the future of athletics is great,” he said. He believes that dopers should be treated as thieves since there is no difference with them.
“It takes many years and hard work for athletes to prepare themselves for their big races and it is so bad when someone else who has not been training as hard uses drugs and wins a race instead of the truly deserving runner. Not only that. These cheats also end up spoiling the names of the clean athletes since when they are caught, all the other athletes will be seen as suspects too,” said Kiprop.
He also had a word for journalists who are quick to write up stories bad rumors in search of attention at the expense of athletes who have taken years to build their names. Instead of thinking negatively, he believes that such journalists should be looking out for good stories instead. “There are many journalists who have written good stories and have earned themselves respect and recognition without ruining other people’s reputations to get there,” he said.
Larry Eder has had a 50-year involvement in the sport of athletics. Larry has experienced the sport as an athlete, coach, magazine publisher, and now, journalist and blogger. His first article, on Don Bowden, America's first sub-4 minute miler, was published in RW in 1983. Larry has published several magazines on athletics, from American Athletics to the U.S. version of Spikes magazine. He currently manages the content and marketing development of the RunningNetwork, The Shoe Addicts, and RunBlogRun. Of RunBlogRun, his daily pilgrimage with the sport, Larry says: "I have to admit, I love traveling to far away meets, writing about the sport I love, and the athletes I respect, for my readers at runblogrun.com, the most of anything I have ever done, except, maybe running itself."
Theme song: Greg Allman, " I'm no Angel."
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