2013 Pre-Classic Press Conference: With something to prove, Asbel Kiprop wants to PR and win fourth Bowerman mile

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Kiprop: “This year I have a point to prove… I want to see Makhloufi beat me when I’m ok,” said Kiprop

by LetsRun.com
May 31, 2013

The press conference for the 2013 Pre Classic was held today at a ballroom at the Valley River Inn. There actually was really no formal press conference. There were about 30 seconds of opening remarks and then an introduction of the eight athletes in attendance – Kirani James, Galen Rupp, Asbel Kiprop, Sanya Richards Ross, Tirunesh Dibaba, Veronica Campbell Brown, Allyson Felix, Renaud Lavillenie (Mo Farah was scheduled but a no-show). Then the athletes broke out to various parts of the room where they were available for intimate Q&As.

When the breakout sessions began, we immediately of course scrambled to interview two of the biggest mid-d and distance stars in the sport whom we don’t often get a chance to talk to  – Asbel Kiprop of Kenya and Tirunesh Dibaba or Ethiopia – as we didn’t know how long they’d stay around and knew former Oregon star Galen Rupp would be swamped.

We had a great conversation with Kiprop and share with you the highlights of our near six minutes with him below, but the entire video of our time with him is embedded on the left if you have time.

After recapping that in great detail, we share with you quickly what we learned from Galen Rupp and Tirunesh Dibaba. Plus we embed interviews with Kirani James and Veronica Campbell Brown.

Asblel Kiprop has something to prove

Kiprop has started his season with two victories so far – a dominant 3:31.13 victory in Doha where he was up-front the whole time and then a mind-boggling come from behind 3:32.39 victory in Shanghai where he allowed himself to fall way back on the third lap.

When we asked him what happened in Shanghai, Kiprop amazingly said he simply mainly was wanting to test out his speed.

Kiprop is so good – he says he just wanted to test out his speed in Shanghai.

“We had different weather in Shanghai (it rained), but also I also had an idea of wanting to test my kick – running from behind and see if I was strong enough to catch up with the guys,” said Kiprop.

“(The same thing) happened in the Olympics in Beijing, four years ago. I ran from behind in the semifinals – from way back behind and managed to run a relaxed 52 the last 400 and win my heat. That’s what I was looking for. I was trying to see if I had the kind of speed (to come from behind).”

Remembering London’s disappointment, he’s got something to prove

When asked if he was particularly looking forward to Satuday’s race – which easily can be argued is more competitive than the Olympic final – as it offers Kiprop a chance for some redemption after failing to medal at last year’s Olympics, Kiprop remind the press that he was injured last year in London but did admit he has something prove.

“(In London), I had an injury. I was totally injured, my hamstring. A week before the Olympic Games I was in top shape (Editor’s note: He Prd in Monaco on July 20th). I was at my best and then it came unbelievably (at the worse time) to get injured.”

“This year I have a point to prove,” said Kiprop.

“It will depend on the race, but I actually want to run faster (tomorrow). I want to run a personal best here. I had it in 2009 and that is still with me – 3:48.5 – I want to do something better than that.

On facing Makhloufi

When asked about specifically facing Taoufik Makhloufi, the Olympic champ, Kiprop admitted he was looking forward to it.

“It is a good time for me, actually, because I’m not injured at the moment. I want to see Makhloufi beat me when I’m ok,” said Kiprop.

“I’m looking forward to it (trying to win), that’s my priority. (Making) the guys beat me when I’m ok and not injured,” added Kiprop a little bit later.

Mind or body?

As for other highlights, we thought it was interesting when asked what is more important the mind or the body, Kiprop said the body.

“My advantage I can say is in my body, not in my mind. When you have what it takes (in you), then you have to win.”

Whil still only 23, Kiprop is now a savvy veteran and he was smart enough to avoid the media trying to bait him into guaranteeing a victory for tomorrow. Asked if he was confident, Kiprop said hew was “not too confident but a little confident.”

World record in Monaco?

Earlier this week, it was said Kiprop would go for a world record later this summer in Monaco. Kiprop downplayed that talk.

“Not a world record attempt but (I’d like to) see that I run the fastest of my career. If things go well, no injuries, I’m looking forward to going past (1200) in 2:45 and see what (I) can do.”

Proper way to pace a 1500?

Kiprop at Pre
2009 3:48.50    1st
2010 3:49.75    1st
2011 3:49.55    3rd
2012
3:49.40    1st

That led to a discussion of the pacing on Saturday, Kiprop said the rabbits are supposed to hit 1:51 for 800 and 2:50 for 1200, and as a result, he said he was hoping to hit 1500 in about 3:32 which seemingly would easily put him on course to smash his 3:48.50 pb which he set at Pre in 2009. When Kiprop set his PB in 2009, he hit 1200 in 3:34.43.

Once Kiprop started talking about pacing, we had to ask him about a pet-peeve of ours. Has he ever thought about trying to change the way he runs most Diamond League races. it seems in most DL events the first lap is like 52-53 and the second lap is much slower 58-59, wouldn’t it better to go 56-56? Kiprop disagreed.

“Going that way (fast first lap, relaxed second lap) is the best way to go. Going in 53 and then get a little bit relaxed second lap will enable you to run a fast third lap. If you try to balance both of them, it’s not possible,”said Kiprop. “It’s like the 800, nobody and can run 50 on the first 400 and then repeat another 50 to make it 1:40 that way. The guys go 49 and then they (go slower).”

Is something wrong with Silas Kiplagat?

We concluded our talk with Kiprop by asking him about fellow Kenyan Silas Kiplagat. Kiplagat, the 2011 world championship silver medallist who won the Kenyan Olympic Trials last year, has been struggling so far this year (10th in Doha after a fall, 6th in Shanghai).

On Kiplagat, Kiprop said, “I can’t say anything about Silas….I don’ tknow about his training program or what (he and his coach) are planning.”

“At the moment, I can talk about myself. I’m looking forward to getting my fourth win tomorrow here. That’s my priority.”

Galen Rupp is confident and focused on working on his finish not the American record (12:53.60)

Two takeaways from talking to Rupp.

1. Rupp’s confident, but focused on working on his kick and not the American record

Galen Rupp said that his training is going well and he thinks he’s in great shape. He said last year’s silver medal was big “big confidence booster” but that it hasn’t really changed much for him.

“It’s just a matter of continuing to improve and get that bit more at the end (of the race) that I didn’t have last year,” said Rupp.

When asked if he’d be thinking about the American record, Rupp said he would not.

“It’s really about competing and working on my finish. That’s the main focus.”

2. Farah’s missed some time but Rupp’s not overly focused on beating his training partner for the first time

Rupp said that Mo Farah has “definitely missed some time training” with his illness.

That being said, now that Rupp’s facing his training partner Farah in Saturday’s race after Farah switched to the 5,000 from the 10,000, Rupp refused to say that it’s important for him to beat his training partner in a race for the first time:

“I think that’s really a bad attitude to have – just trying to beat this one guy. We look at it as an advantage – we always have – being able to train together. There are so many other good people. I’m not going to focus on just him to try to beat him. There are other guys that are obviously going to be tough to beat in there. We look at it as an advantage to have each other in these races. When it comes to competing, it’s every man for himself. That’s the way we’ve always treated it and that’s the way I think we’ll always treat it.”

Tirunesh Dibaba is healthy and wants a meet record (14:33.96)

We spoke to Dibaba through a translator. She said the injury that kept her from making her marathon debut in London was a foot injury that cost her two months of training time but is now healed. She said her focus is on preparing for the 10,000 in Moscow.

When asked if she’d double back in the 5000, Dibaba said she didn’t know at this time but the focus was the 10,000. We also asked her if her younger sister Genzebe would be running the 5,000 or 1,500 at worlds and Tirunesh said that wasn’t known right now either.

As for who’d win at 5000 if the sisters raced, big sis smiled and gave little sis some respect as she said she wasn’t sure.

As for Saturday, Dibaba said if the pace making is good her goal is to get a new meet record. Vivian Cheruiyot is the meet record holder at 14:33.96.

Sprint Love

We tried to give sprinters some love and not embarrass ourselves when we interviewed two-time Olympic 200 champ Veronica Campbell Brown and 20-year old Olympic 400 champ Kirani James. You can watch their interviews below.


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