Last updated 3 years ago | By JONATHAN KOMEN
Three-time world 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop is confident the mixed relay squad will weather the storm when called upon during the 42nd IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Kampala, Uganda, on Sunday.
Asbel said Kenya has a strong despite the inclusion of world 1,500m record holder Genzebe Dibaba in the Ethiopian mixed relay line up.
Asbel has 3:26.69 third fastest time in history in 1,500m while Dibaba has 3:50.07 women’s world record in the race – both set as stadium records separately at the IAAF Diamond League meet in Monaco, France.
“Dibaba is a strong athlete but I have confidence in our squad. We have Bernard Kipkorir (sub 3:30 runner), Winfred Mbithe and Beatrice Chepkoech. There is also Mark Bett and Margaret Nyairera, the Olympic 800m bronze medalist,” he said.
“I have been in camp training and have slowly regained my top form. It will help me ahead of the World Athletics Championships and the IAAF Diamond League meetings,” Asbel said.
Asbel, 26, made maiden his maiden international appearance at the World Cross Country Championships in Mombasa in 2007.
“I came to St Marks Teachers Training College (in Kigari, Embu) for the residential camp and I liked the place. It brings back memories of training in 2007 ahead of the World Cross Country championships in Mombasa,” he said.
Morocco’s world record holder Hicham El Guerrouj has always tipped him to break the 1,500m world record.
“El Guerrouj congratulated me when I ran 3:26.69 (the third fastest time) in Monaco in 2015. I met him in Morocco that year during the Inter-Continental Cup and shared some moments. He is my mentor and a friend. That’s why I have not shelved plans to go for the world record. I hope its time will come,” he said.
El Guerrouj remains confident that Asbel can break his record. He once told IAAF: “The 1500m world record is difficult, but it can be broken. However, the only athlete I currently see capable of breaking it is Asbel Kiprop.
“He has everything you need. He’s tall, he’s got a long stride, he has strength, he’s strong mentally; perhaps he needs to work a little on his technique.”