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HERO OR VILLAIN? Fans criticise and support crestfallen world champion Asbel in social media

ATHLETICS By Bismarck Mutahi in Rio Di Janeiro | August 22nd 2016
Asbel Kiprop (KEN) of Kenya and Taoufik Makhloufi (ALG) of Algeria compete. REUTERS

Mixed reactions greeted three-time world 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop’s dismal showing yesterday at the Olympic Stadium.

Asbel, who failed to reclaim his 1,500m Olympic crown, has a huge following in social media and he received support and criticism in equal measure.

But he left many in shock, too, with a strange post on his Facebook wall: “That moment when a fan is waiting for your win to win a bet. Now is my turn.”

Asbel then tagged a picture showing bets already checked as won citing two-time Olympic 800m champion David Rudisha (won), new world 400m record holder Wade VanNierkerk of South Africa (won), Britain’s double Olympic champion Mo Farah (won), Asbel Kiprop (open), Jamaica’s 4x100m team (won) and Ashton Eaton Decathlon (won). The betting company was not immediately known.

The performance on Sunday provided some anti-climax for Team Kenya on a day the nation expected a change in the medal standing.

Instead it offered a moment Kenyans wish to forget.

After Asbel’s shocking result, world javelin champion Julius Yego’s silver and Margaret Nyairera’s bronze seemed to warm the hearts of crestfallen fans.

Another Kenyan contender in the 1,500m race, Ronald Kwemoi took a fall as the race entered second lap.

Asbel said it was a shocking race as America Matthew Centrowittz crossed the 3:50.00, relatively closer to women’s fastest time.

“I am used to lagging behind, but this time round everyone decided to move as they also decided to lag behind and it worked well for them and not me,” Asbel said.

On his behind-the-pack running style, Asbel said, he uses it to save energy for the final kick in what looks a disadvantage to


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