Asbel off the mark

Former world and Olympic 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop had wanted to end his career on a high, signing off from the metric mile with a record-equalling fourth gold medal, which only Morocco’s Hicham El Guerrouj has done.

But this did not work. Instead, he joined the high and mighty—Mo Farah and Usain Bolt—who planned to end their careers with gold medals but failed rather dramatically.

Instead, Elijah Manangoi, who won silver in Beijing two years ago (when Kiprop won his third world title), sprinted past Timothy Cheruiyot with about 50 metres to finish, to lead a Kenyan 1-2, the first time it has ever happened in the World Championships in this race.

Manangoi timed 3:33.61 and Cheruiyot 3:33.99. Kiprop trailed in ninth place in 3:37.24. But unlike five years ago inside the same stadium during the Olympic Games final when he ran from start to finish, this time, he started from behind, as he usually does, but closed the gap and gave Kenyans a false hope of a possible medal sweep, only to slow down after the 300m mark and ended up number nine.

Cheruiyot, who was seen as the Dark Horse here, almost lived to that title, and attempted to take the race, but Manangoi, who won all his races here from preliminary to the final, sprinted past him to victory.

It was a night Kenyans will cherish for long, as they won women’s 5,000m gold and the men’s 1,500m gold and silver. This made them finish second to United States on the table with five gold, two silver and four bronze medals. USA had 10, 11, nine and South Africa were third with three gold, one silver, two bronze.

“I used a lot of energy to close the gap from behind to top three. By the time I settled, the tempo was red hot. It was a bad tactic, but I am happy that my teammates won the top two positions,” Kiprop said. Kiprop said he will henceforth run 5,000m at championships, but will continue running 1,500m at invitational races for speed work.

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