Kiprop turns to rally after doping trouble

By Stephen Rutto: Tuesday, February 25th 2020 at 00:07 GMT +3 | Athletics
Kenya's Asbel Kiprop hands over the wrist band to Winfred Mbithe in their wining mix relay race during the IAAF World Cross Country Championship in Kololo, Kampala, Uganda on March 26, 2017. [PHOTO/DENNIS OKEYO/STANDARD

The 1,500m track star has been battling doping accusations since 2017.

Three-time 1500m world champion Asbel Kiprop is warming up to motorsport after three years of fighting a doping ban.

Kiprop yesterday announced that he was into a new sporting career – rally driving, but was quick to add that he was not quitting 1500m race, just yet.

As he made the surprising decision, the 2008 Olympic gold medallist said he hopes to put enough effort in his new found love - rally and become a champion like he has done on the track for over 15 years.

He said he has had a soft spot for motorsport since 2013, and decided to take a leap into it.

The world champion in 2011, 2013 and 2015, is training under the watchful eye of motorsport coach Abdul Sidi, who runs the Abdul Sidi Rally Academy.

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Kiprop is also a Police Inspector currently working at the Kiganjo Police Training College in Nyeri.

“I have always had an interest to compete in motorsport since 2013 and I hope to shine in my new career,” Kiprop said.

“I am even glad because of the encouragement and motivation I get from my coach.”

He said he will use the new sporting career to inspire the younger generation of athletes to diversify in sports as they seek to have new avenues to leave a mark.

“I am getting into motorsport because I want to inspire someone out there to try something new. It is about determination,” Kiprop said.

In April last year, the World Athletics Disciplinary Tribunal banned the track star for four years after he allegedly tested positive for Erythroprotein (EPO), a blood-boosting substance which increases the production of red blood cells, enabling more oxygen flow in the body.

But an unbowed Kiprop says he will continue training in 1500m even as he serves the ban.

“Motorsport will not affect my running career. I will return to the track next year, more energised. I have just started my motorsport training and I look forward to becoming the best rally driver,” he said.

He added: “I am a sportsman and I have trained in sports my entire life. It is all about trying. After crawling, you walk and after walking, you run and then after running, you drive.”

Kiprop said he is yet to get a confirmation from his coach on when he will debut in a motorsport competition.

He, however, did not disclose his current training location and the rally car he’s been using, only insisting that more details will follow soon.

His coach, Sidi, was also full of praise to the former champion, pledging to turn his athletics career into something positive.

Sidi posted on Facebook that he first met Kiprop in Eldoret in 2013 and assured him that he wanted to make history as the first Kenyan athlete to become a rally driver.

“Kiprop, whom I first met in Eldoret in 2013 during one of the ASRA sessions, is determined to make history as the first ever World renowned Athlete to become a rally driver,” Sidi posted.

The rally coach also disclosed how Kiprop approached him through a message that read: “Hi Abdul, My name is Asbel Kiprop. Olympic and World 1500m Champion. I desperately want to change my career. I really want to make a change.”

“It will be nice to be the first Olympic and World champion in athletics to try motorsport. I really want to learn a lot from you. I’m looking forward to this career. After walking, you run, after running, you drive. “

 

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