Asbel Kiprop is, perhaps, the finest miler of his generation. His 1:49 first 800 meters in Monaco was a bit too quick, and Asbel, being human, fell to earth, finishing sixth. In this interview, done on July 24 in a conversation with our writer, Justin Lagat. Please note that Justin Lagat will be writing for us during the ten days of athletics in Rio!
Asbel Kiprop reassures that all will be well in Rio after he didn’t win the Monaco diamond league race, by Justin Lagat
Kiprop is now fully focused on the men’s 1500m Olympic gold medal in Rio after the latest happenings in Kenya saw his manager, Federico Rosa, getting arrested and later being released on bail. The manager was arrested for charges related to doping and this had interrupted Kiprop’s training and even caused him to be beaten for the first time this year in Monaco.
“I had to interrupt my training for some days leading up to the Monaco diamond league race as I sought to know exactly what was going on and to know whether my manager was really involved with the doping allegations in any way,” he said after I met him briefly last evening (the evening of 24th) in Eldoret town. “But after a while, I have realized that there is nothing much I can do about this situation because there is already enough information for the authorities to use if they are interested in the truth. There are so many questions that will only keep disturbing me when I try to follow on this case at this time when I should be focusing on Rio. For example, why did the authorities not pursue the doctors on the ground that the athletes who were implicated in doping could identify as having injected them? Why are we not being given any tangible evidence, like phone conversations or emails between my manager and any doctor or his athletes that raises any suspicion against Rosa? Why are people not interested in the facts and prefer going after mere allegations?”
For now, Kiprop says he thinks there is nothing more he can do, or say, and that he is now shifting his focus to his training ahead of the Olympic Games. He even would not wish to speak to press concerning the topic at the moment, nor post anything on social media until the Olympics are done. He has to recover some of the time he lost on training and even had to continue with training and miss the ceremony where the president was handing the national flag to the Rio bound national team at the state house.
So, being part of the press that he would wish not to speak to concerning the case and distract his mind from training, I could not push further on the topic. But he had something else to say though, which might be good for his fans to hear. “I think my performance in Monaco was affected slightly by the way the race was paced. It was more of a “fartlek”. I was also affected more by the fact that I had already missed training for some days. However, there is no cause for worry because it usually does not take me long to get back in good form and given that I was already in good form some weeks before Monaco, I am confident I will be in good form at the right time to go for gold in Rio,” said Kiprop.