August 29, 2013
Silas Kiplagat reminded the world he can be a damn good 1500m runner by running away from Ayanleh Souleiman the final 100m to win the Zurich Weltklasse Diamond League finale in 3:30.97 to Souleiman’s 3:31.64. Nixon Chepseba was a distant third in 3:33.15 as World Champion Asbel Kiprop and the Americans were non-factors.
The second place finish was good enough to give Souleiman, the bronze medallist at Worlds at 800m, the 2013 1500m Diamond League title and the $40,000 bonus (all he had to do was run the race as he clinched the points title in Stockholm). Kiplagat, the 2011 World Championship silver medallist who was only 6th at Worlds this year, picked up $10,000 for his win.
The rabbits Andrew Rotich and Bethwell Birgen (who ran at Worlds for Kenya at 1500) did a good job of keeping this one fast and honest (54.62, 1:51.25 and 2:49.60).
At the bell, Nixon Chepseba, the Kenyan World Championship runner who was fourth in Moscow, was the only one right on Birgen as there was a gap back to Souleiman and Kiplagat. By the time 1200 was reached Kiplagat and Souleiman had closed the gap to Chepseba and they went by him on the back-stretch. Souleiman led around the final turn and onto the homestretch but there was no doubt about this one over the final 100m. Kiplagat hit the afterburners and ran away to the win.
Gold, Silver, and Bronze in Kiprop, Manzano, and Centro Struggle
At the global level, Asbel Kiprop, Matt Centrowitz, and Leo Manano have 3 gold medals, 2 silver medals, and a bronze medal between them. You wouldn’t have known it today.
Reigning world champion Asbel Kiprop was up in third on the first lap and then he started fading backwards quickly. American Matt Centrowitz had also started aggressively behind Kiprop but he too started fading as well. They faded all the way back through the field to the point just after the bell they were second and third to last only ahead of American Leo Manzano who had been last throughout. Not a good day for the gold, silver, and bronze medallists.
Kiprop is so talented he kicked the last lap and moved up to 6th.
QT #1 Silas Kiplagat is Still a Phenom
Do not forget how good Kiplagat is. He ran 3:29.27 in his first European race ever in 2010. In 2011, he was World silver medallist. (He like all the Kenyans ran poorly last year in the Olympic final.) This year he won at Prefontaine.
At Worlds, he finished 6th, but don’t let the results fool you. He might have run 1540 meters instead of 1500m as most of the race was in lane 2. A smarter tactical race and we’re certain Kiplagat would have had silver.
QT #2 Souleiman Shows DL Title Not a Fluke
Souleiman only had to finish to win the $40,000 Diamond League title. He did much better than that by battling for the win here. The 1500m Diamond League title and an 800 m bronze make it a very good year for him. Coming in Souleiman was largely leading the Diamond League points race because Monaco and Shanghai’s 1500 didn’t count in the Diamond League standings. Here he earned some respect.
QT #3: Centro and Leo Struggle Again
Matt Centrowitz and Leo Manzano have never been very good in rabbitted races and that trend continued today. Without a World Championship next year, these two will have to figure out how to run this type of race if they want to be relevant.
Manzano needs to try a different tactic. Going out in last does not work well for him. The guy is a ferocious competitor who does well when he feels as if he’s competing for the win. He should at least try getting out in the front.
Centro got it right at Worlds so he can leave 2013 feeling good about his season. Leo didn’t get it right at Worlds so he can’t, particularly since Leo is still sans a shoe contract. Now they both face the daunting task of rabbitted race after rabbitted race next year.
QT #4 22 Year Old Henrik Ingebrigtsen Got a PR and National Record Here. Henrik is another guy who has done better in championship races (5th in London, 8th in Moscow) versus paced races. His previous best was his 3:35.43 PR from London last year, showing that a guy without a good PR can do well in a slow race.
QT #5 Kiprop Looked Tired
Kiprop in past years had the tendency to do poorly in a few races. That happened here, but he may be suffering from post-Worlds fatigue. In Stockholm, he faded on the final lap to 6th. He may be tired from Worlds but a win in Stockholm and a win here would have netted him $60,000.
QT #6: Anyone think it was ironic that Birgen rabbited her?
Despite finishing fifth at the Kenyan Trials, Birgen was a controversial selection to the 2013 Kenyan team where he went out in the semifinals. If four had made the final in Moscow, we imagine Kenya definitely would have sacrificed one (probably Birgen) to rabbit the final because if it was rabbitted Kenya would have gone 1-2. Birgen looked great rabbiting here.
Messageboard talk about this race:
MB: Centro- Did he follow Kip @ Zurich, to better learn his Gold rival? –
MB: Ingebrigtsen the Great Nordic Hope
MB: Centro- Did he follow Kip @ Zurich, to better learn his Gold rival?
MB: Centro? Legend in his own mind? –
|3.||Nixon Kiplimo CHEPSEBA||KEN||90||3:33.15|
|4.||Caleb Mwangangi NDIKU||KEN||92||3:33.41|
|13.||Augustine Kiprono CHOGE||KEN||87||3:37.25|
|–||Andrew Kiptoo ROTICH||KEN||87||DNF|
400m Rotich, Andrew Kiptoo (KEN)54.62
800m Rotich, Andrew Kiptoo (KEN)1:51.25
1200m Birgen, Bethwell (KEN)2:49.60