We did it for Kenya: Kiprop steers team to gold, sets new world record time

By Omulo okoth in Nassau, Bahamas

Kenya’s men’s 4x1,500m relay team poses with the clock after setting a new world record in the event during the IAAF World Relays Championships in Nassau, Bahamas, on Sunday. The runners are Silas Kiplagat (bottom, left), Asbel Kiprop (top, left), James Kiplagat Magut (top, right) and Collins Cheboi.

Kenya engraved a seal of invincibility in the Bahamas with a second world record on the final day of the inaugural World Relays Series on Sunday.

Asbel Kiprop, former 1,500m Olympic and twice world champion (2013 and 2011), anchored Collins Cheboi, Silas Kiplagat and James Kiplagat Magut to a world record time of 14:22.22.

United States came second in 14:40.80 and Ethiopia were third in 14:41.22. The quartet won $50,000 prize money and a similar amount for the world record which they shared equally.

The dummy cheque was displayed to the stadium crowd and cameras clicked, followed by a lap of honour with the athletes draped in Kenyan flag. Then the national anthem belted as the few Kenyans in this Atlantic ocean archipelago cheered wildly.

Kenyans won the first gold medal of the World Relays — the men’s 4x800m — (Ferguson Cheruiyot Rotich, Sammy Kibet Kirongo, Job Koech Kinyor and Alfred Kipketer) on the first day on Saturday.

Mercy Cherono, Faith Chepngetich Kipyegon, Irene Jelagat and Hellen Onsando Obiri, then bettered the 1,500m world record (16:33.58) which they had set at altitude in Nairobi (17:05.72) on April 20.

The men’s 4x1,500m world record, which they proudly dedicated to the First Lady, Margaret Kenyatta, came in a special way.

First because it was hitherto held by Kenyans who set it in Brussels on September 4, 2009, then the manner in which it was executed.

Put on lane three, Collins Cheboi did not wait to hit the front hardly 100m off the gun. Ethiopia’s Mekonnen Gebremedhin challenged for the lead as USA’s Patrick Casey tried to fill the gap.

At 800m, the Ethiopian overtook Chemoi but the Kenyan regained the lead until he handed the baton to Silas Kiplagat.


The 1,500m world silver medallist became the destroyer-in-chief as he ran away from the US’s David Torrence whose effort to close the gap became a cropper.

The Ethiopian also lost hope and slowed down considerably. Magut maintained the lead until Kiprop took charge and ran the last lap in 54 seconds.

The Thomas A. Robinson Stadium, which was filled to the seams, went into a frenzied delirium, complete with vuvuzelas as the emcee announced that Kenyans were running inside the world record.

market stampede

The scenes on the terraces was like a market stampede when Kiprop crossed the finish line.

“When we came here, we had one mission: to break the world record and we are happy it happened,” Kiplagat said in a post-race press conference.

“The cheering crowd was fantastic. The music was inspiring. This spurred us to the record,” said Kiplagat with a grin.

Kiprop weighed in: “Following the splits, I knew the world record was very much in sight and by the time I took charge, it was only to finish off the job already done by these guys,” he said.

“I will be running the mile in Eugene next year and going for my personal best in Monaco.”

He did not rule out a world record, but avoided to commit. “Anything is possible. With a good weather, good coach, you can never rule out anything,” he said.

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