May 10, 2013
Asbel Kiprop is back.
One of the biggest stories of the 2012 Olympic track and field action was the flameout of the three Kenyans who came in ranked #1-2-3 in the world (Kiprop was #1) and all three failed to medal. What the media seemed to forget is that Kiprop, the 2008 Olympic champion, had a legitimate excuse. He was suffering from a hamstring injury.
Kiprop reminded everyone tonight in Doha that when healthy he is very hard to beat. He absolutely dominated the field over the final 100 and breathtakingly pored it on over the final 50 to get the win in dominating fashion as he ran a world leading 3:31.13 to win the Diamond League opener.
Badly beaten behind him was a very quality field that included four of the 9 fastest men in 2012 (Silas Kiplagat #2 at 3:29.27, Ayanleh Souleiman #4 at 3:30.31, Bethwel Birgen #8 at 3:31.00, and Mekonnen Gebremedhin #9 at 3:31.45) as well as the Olympic bronze medallist (Abdelaati Iguider).
The 24-year old Birgen ended up as the best of the rest in 3:31.93 as the 20-year old national record holder from Djibouti, Ayanleh Souleiman, was third in a well deserved 3:32.59. We say well deserved as he went with the hot pace from the start and actually had the lead throgh 1200.
A large field of 17 started and the race resulted in what you often see with overly large fields. A super quick first lap before slower second and third laps before a burning last 300.
Souleiman and Kiprop meant business from the start as they they got right behind the two rabbits and stayed there until the final 200, avoiding all of the jostling that occurs in the pack. The opening splits were 54.19 and 1:52.33 for the lead rabbit. Kiprop was roughly 3/4ths of a second behind (we had his 700 split in 1:38 high). With 300 to go (2:51.33), Souleiman had the lead and Kiprop was just behind, but because the pace had been slowing each lap, the rest of the back had moved up and it seemed as if everyone was about to make themselves heard.
Had the fast start gotten to Kiprop early in the season?
Not a chance.
Kiprop took the lead with 200 to go and things were still tight until the homestretch when he beganto pull away. Soon it was clear, Kiprop was going to win. And then, almost as quickly, it was clear we were watching a dominating performance as Kiprop turned it into overdrive and just just dominated the final 50.
Quick Take (QT) #1: Every time we watch the long-legged Kiprop dominate a 1500 like this we think, “It seems as if the Creator put him on earth to do just that – run the 1,500.” We hate to sound like total fan boys but when he’s on in the 1,500 it’s a bit like Bolt in the sprints, he just looks so much different than everyone else and seems unbeatable.
Hard to believe that Kiprop is still just 23 years young.
QT #2: 2011 world championship silver medallist and 2012 second fastest man Silas Kiplagat never contended today.He ran in the middle of the pack today and then nearly went down just before the bell as shown by the picture below.
Was he being smart and running more even than Kiprop or did he know he wasn’t fit enough to handle the quick early pace or was it a combination of the two? We’ll find out later in the season.
We know one thing. Even if he hadn’t stumbled, there was no chance he was beating Kiprop tonight. He was too far back at the bell.
QT #3: The 8th place run by South African Johan Cronje (3:33.46) was a South African record.
Rank Athlete Nation Result
1 KIPROP Asbel KEN 03:31.13 WL
2 BIRGEN Bethwell KEN 03:31.90
3 SOULEIMAN Ayanleh DJI 03:32.59
4 CHEBOI Collins KEN 03:32.85
5 SEUREI Benson BRN 03:33.04
6 KOMEN Daniel Kipchirchir KEN 03:33.05
7 WOTE Aman ETH 03:33.42 PB
8 CRONJE Johan RSA 03:33.46 NR
9 GEBREMEDHIN Mekonnen ETH 03:34.49
10 KIPLAGAT Silas KEN 03:34.57
11 WOLDE Dawit ETH 03:34.64
12 IGUIDER Abdelaati MAR 03:35.85
13 AL GARNI Mohamed QAT 03:35.88 SB
14 CASADO Arturo ESP 03:38.33
15 ALI Belal Mansoor BRN 03:38.89
KEBENEI Victor Kipchirchir KEN DNF
KOMBICH Ismael Kipngetich KEN DNF
400m Kebenei, Victor Kipchirchir (KEN) 54.19
800m Kebenei, Victor Kipchirchir (KEN) 01:52.33
1200m Souleiman, Ayanleh (DJI) 02:51.43
More LRC Coverage of Doha :
*Men’s 800: Men’s 800: David Rudisha Has To Work For It But He Opens 2013 Season With World Leading 800 Win
*Men’s 1500: Asbel Kiprop Is Back – Kenyan Dominates 2013 Diamond League Opener in Doha
*Men’s 3000: Hagos Gebrhiwet Makes A Statement With Impressive 3000 Win – 18-Year Old Phenom Seems To Be The Man To Beat in 2013
*Women’s 1500: Sweden’s Abeba Aregawi Wins As Three Women Run 3:57.54 or Better!!!
*Women’s Steeple: Lydiah Chepkurui pulls off a big upset