Four men chasing one 1,500m crown

Asbel Kiprop wins men's 1500m final ahead of Elijah Manangoi during during the National Olympics Trials on July 1,2016 at kipchoge Stadium, Eldoret.[PHOTO:DENNIS OKEYO/STANDARD]

It’s a riddle. But it has to be answered, not now but soon – at least in a spectacular fashion.

They boast rich CVs in 1,500m and each among them longs to go one better and the adage ‘the early bird catches the worm’ drives them into intensive training.

So who will ascend to the throne and, perhaps, break Morocco’s Hicham El Guerrouj world record of 3:26.00?

On the cards are three-time world champion Asbel Kiprop, world silver medallist Elijah Manangoi and throw in the gem from Mt Elgon –Ronald Kwemoi, the world 1,500m junior record holder and Silas Kiplagat, the 2011 world silver medallist, on the stellar cast.

Already El Guerrouj has tipped Asbel, who has 3:26.69 personal best, to break his record.

Asbel longs to win world championships in London to equal El Guerrouj four wins at the worlds.

On Saturday next week, they will begin the battle at the third leg of the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Hayward Field in Eugene, USA, lining up in the Bowerman Mile.

Asbel has broken 3:50 in the mile five times in Eugene having won the IAAF Diamond Race in 2010, 2015 and 2016.

He has also won the Bowerman Mile in Eugene four times, having won the 1500m at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Doha in a world-leading 3:32.15 last year and also winning 1500m Diamond Trophy in 2012 and 2014.

But the duo –Kiplagat and Asbel –have faced each other 36 times in the 1500m and mile, and Asbel owns a 19-17 edge. In the Bowerman Mile, Asbel has won four while Kiplagat has three wins.

Asbel won last year out of his eight appearances in Eugene while Kiplagat has competed seven times.

Manangoi, who has announced his bid for the world record and was third in Eugene last year, boasts the world leading time of 3:31.90 set in Doha last week.

Manangoi appears to have stepped out of Asbel’s shadows and out to storm onto the global stage.

“My form has picked so well and ready to challenge anyone, including my friend Asbel. I will compete in Eugene, Rome and Oslo then come for trials and head to Monaco, where I want to do something special. I won’t share now.

“El Guerrouj’s record is attainable. It’s just a matter of time,” said Manangoi.

Kwemoi, the Commonwealth Games 1,500m silver medalist, has a mile best time of 3:52.57. He stunned the world in Doha meet when he won 3,000m in 7:28.73.

Coach Bernard Ouma said the battle, which also has fast-rising Timothy Cheruiyot, will be no walk in the park.

But he blamed the internal rivalry among the athletes for Kenya’s failure to secure 1,500m medal at the Rio Olympics.

“We had the fastest 1,500m line up for Rio in terms of fielding on paper. The Diamond League series is fine but a major undoing for us in big championships like the Olympics and the World Championships.

“I think some of these athletes have excellent endurance that can even see them perform well in 5,000m where we have no-so-good athletes.

“We need team work in world championships and our coaches must unite them to help each other in London. That will enable us win medals,” said Ouma.

Next Story
LATEST STORIES
How the Chelsea dressing room reacted to drawing Barcelona in the Champions League

Chelsea discovered their Champions League fate on Monday when they were drawn against old foes Barcelona in the last-16 of the competition. Upon learning they would be facing their old foes in the Champions League last-16 this February, Chelsea players were relaxed. According to reports in Sport, the Blues stars took the news "very well" as they are already mentally prepared for the tie.

Wanyama’s return to action draws near

Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Victor Wanyama returned to training for the Premier League club on Monday as he recovers from a knee injury sustained at the start of the campaign. The 26-year-old Kenyan international, who missed just two league games last season, featured in the north London club’s first two matches before picking up the injury ahead of the home match against Burnley in August

Arsenal's Europa League hopes to be tested by Swedish giants

Arsenal's hopes of Europa League glory will be tested in the last 32 by Swedish minnows Ostersunds, ironically coached by the only English manager left in European competition and founded in the same month Arsene Wenger took over the Gunners.

Real eyes Liverpool star in mouthwatering deal

Real Madrid are readying a player-plus-cash deal to take Mo Salah to the Bernabeu - and are willing to offload Lucas Vazquez in the other direction. That is according to Don Balon, who say Los Blancos are serious about their interest in the Egyptian who has taken the Premier League by storm this season.

Gor Mahia dominate season’s nominees list

The Gor Mahia attacking trio of George Odhiambo, Jacques Tuyisenge, and Meddie Kagere have made the eight-man shortlist for the inaugural Sports Journalists Association of Kenya Player of the Year award. The three, who scored a combined 32 goals to help K’Ogalo win a record 16th Kenyan Premier League title, will battle it out with their captain, Musa Mohammed, and last year’s winner, Kenneth Muguna, for the top accolade.

Oburu carries Kenya's title hopes

The forced smile on the face of Harambee Stars' head coach Paul Put at the final whistle of their last group A match against Tanzania yesterday told it all. Kenya were staring at the exit door of the 2017 Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup yesterday at Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos. Stars knew that anything less than maximum points against Taifa Stars would see them walk away in shame.

More Stories
Stage set for Kenya Pipeline Thange races: Kenya Pipeline Thange cross country on tomorrow

Maikuu primary and secondary school grounds in Kinyambu, Makueni County, will be the battleground during the second edition of the Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) cross country tomorrow.

Athletics: Kiplagat and Kirui to race in Boston

Organisers of the Boston Marathon have confirmed that this year’s winners, Edna Kiplagat and Geoffrey Kirui, will defend their titles at the IAAF Gold Label road race on April 16, 2018.

Club Games: Nock launches marketing strategy

Paul Tergat, the National Olympic Committee of Kenya President, has launched Marketing and Fundraising Commission to support various programmes and processes that include the 21st Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, in April next year.

Russia banned from 2018 Winter Olympics over doping

Russia was banned Tuesday from the 2018 Winter Games by the International Olympic Committee over its state-orchestrated doping programme, but clean Russian athletes will be allowed to compete under an Olympic flag. The sanction was the toughest ever levelled by the IOC for drug cheating and came just 65 days ahead of the Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Rudisha mourns 'cheerful' sister at burial

Athletics stars joined 800m World Record holder David Rudisha in mourning the death of his step-sister Harriet Namunyak Rudisha who died of cancer.

Russia jumps to the defense of her athletes against doping allegations

Russia will defend its athletes against doping allegations and work to preserve its ties with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday. The IOC is set to decide later on Tuesday on the level of Russia’s participation in the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics as calls to ban the country over suspected state-sponsored doping grow louder.

Marathon: Tungus, Chepkut win in Kisumu

Newcomers Bernard Tangus and Hellen Chepkut yesterday produced superlative showing to top the 13th World Aids Marathon in Kisumu.

Kipchoge to battle Mo Farah

Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge will return to the London Marathon in 2018 after a year’s absence, resuming his quest for a third victory in the event, organisers said yesterday.

Second AK meeting starts in Kisii today

The two-day second leg of the Athletics Kenya (AK) track and field contest begins today at Kisii University.

IAAF appoints Wekesa into Disciplinary Tribunal

Global athletics governing body International Association Athletics Federation (IAAF), has appointed Moni Wekesa as a member of the inaugural IAAF Disciplinary Tribunal for a period of two years.