This is what Asbel Kiprop, the 1500M maestro, is up to next year


Three-time World champion Asbel Kiprop praised the joint initiative by Athletics Kenya and ADAK to ...
(FILE)Three-time World champion Asbel Kiprop praised the joint initiative by Athletics Kenya and ADAK to take elite athletes through anti-doping education. (PHOTO/File)

David Rudisha is the king of the men’s 800m race, Ezekiel Kemboi is the 3000m steeplechase specialist, Asbel Kiprop is, therefore, the 1500m maestro after his exploits in the past 8 years since he started participating competitively on the track.

The 26 year old has won the world title three times in a row but is yet to replicate the same form at the Olympics Games.

Kiprop’s long strides have been a prevalent feature in the men’s 1500m and his uncanny ability to display tactical running by starting from the back to outpace his opponents has marked him out as one of the best middle distance athletes in the world.

He is an imposing figure on the tracks, standing at 6 ft 3 inches and is a marvel to watch in the 1500m race. The saying goes; “the apple does not fall far from the tree”. Kiprop’s rise in the 1500m race was inspired by his father who represented Kenya in the same race at the African Games in Nairobi in 1987.

Kiprop was natural on the tracks and competed from primary school to secondary before he earned a call up to the junior cross country team in 2007. He led Kenya to a 1, 2, 3 finish in the junior race at the World Cross Country Championships in Mombasa.

He won the African title in 2007 and a year later he added the Olympic crown in Beijing. Kiprop missed out on the medal bracket in 2009 but redeemed himself two years later in Daegu, South Korea.

At the Olympic Games in London, the unthinkable happened as Kiprop finished last in the final due to a lingering injury. In 2013, he won the world title in Russia and in 2015 he defended it in China.

“I have had a good season; I think the best season I have had since 2007. I can say 2015 is a motivation to me,” said Kiprop.

Kiprop also won the Diamond League in the 2015 season edging his rival Silas Kiplagat in the deciding race in Zurich Switzerland. Kiprop is currently enjoying his Christmas break with friends and family but will resume training ahead of the new season.

“We will return after a week. Iten is my training base; I am working extra hard to maintain my level best and to see I better and do Kenya proud.”

The 2016 Olympics Games will be the focus for most athletes with the pressure on the Kenyan contingent to replicate their form at the World Championships in Rio De Janeiro.

Kiprop bagged gold 8 years ago at the Beijing games but struggled in London in 2012. He admits that his biggest threat is his fellow Kenyans.

“Kenyans are the best naturally, we are the best hardworking we are on top of it. My greatest challenge comes from my fellow Kenyans. My able friend Elijah Manangoi is in a position to challenge,” added Kiprop.

Kenya’s exploits on the tracks have been foreshadowed by the issue of doping with top Athletics Kenya officials being banned by the IAAF for subverting the process. Kiprop is advocating for the vice to be criminalized.

“Doping has brought shame to Kenya and to sports in general. I believe the government will help to eradicate this by jailing any individual involved in doping.”

Kiprop is also adept in the 800m race and plans to kick-start his 2016 season early. He has three world titles in his haul, an Olympic gold and several other accolades including the Kenyan Middle Distance Athlete of the Year. Next year he wants to go a step further.

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Story By Bernard Ndong
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