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Kiprop and Kwemoi fail to win as Centrowitz ends America's long wait for 1,500m gold

ATHLETICS By Reuters | August 21st 2016
(From L) Taoufik Makhloufi (ALG) of Algeria, Abdalaati Iguider (MAR) of Morocco, Asbel Kiprop (KEN) of Kenya, Ben Blankenship (USA) of USA and Charlie Grice (GBR) of Great Britain compete. REUTERS

American Matthew Centrowitz pulled of a shock victory in the 1,500m final on Saturday, stunning pre-race favourite Asbel Kiprop of Kenya to secure his country's first gold medal in the event since 1908.

In the run-up to the Games few expected the 26-year-old to challenge for a medal as all the focus was on Kenya's former Olympic champion Kiprop, who had won the last three world titles.

But after a pedestrian race that was won in a time 24 seconds outside world record pace, Centrowitz held off defending champion Taoufik Makhloufi of Algeria to cross the line in 3:50:00.

Centrowitz, who won a world championship bronze in 2011 and silver in 2013, ran the final lap in 50.62 seconds to take gold in a field stacked with African talent.

Makhloufi, who also won silver in the 800m, had to settle for second place once again and Nick Willis of New Zealand snatched the bronze medal.

Kiprop, who has run the fastest time of the year, faded in the final lap to finish sixth.

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