Asbel Kiprop Runs 3:29.18 To Win an “Astonishing” 1,500m To Kick Off Diamond League Season

May 9, 2014

What a race. And what a way to kick off the 2014 IAAF Diamond League season.

The first men’s race of the 2014 IAAF Diamond League season was the 1500 clash between the 2012 Olympic champion Taoufik Makhloufi, the 2011/3 World and 2008 Olympic Champion Asbel Kiprop, the 2014 World Indoor champion Ayanleh Souleiman and Kiprop’s Kenyan rival Silas Kiplagat. It more than lived up to the hype as coming off the final turn those four men were in top four positions.

When this one was over, the BBC commentators Tim Hutchings and Steve Cram were as amazed as were we.

“A classic 1500,” said Cram.

“Astonishing,” said Hutchings.

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Astonishing indeed.

In the end, pulling away in the last 30 or 40 meters, was Kenya’s Asblel Kiprop. The 2008 Olympic and 2011 and 2013 World Champion, who also is the fastest of any current 1500 runner on the planet, showed why he’s the world number one as he won in a stellar 3:29.18.

Kiprop was sensational but he needed to be as the guys behind him were on top of their games. Coming off the final turn, Souleiman had the lead but Kiprop was right behind him as he had been throughout the race. Kiprop took the lead from Souleiman early in the final 100, but Kiplagat was challenging him from behind but Kiprop pulled away over the final 40.

Kiplagat, who has beaten Kiprop at the Kenyan champs the last three years, was second in 3:29.70. Souleiman was third in a new PB and Djibouti national record of 3:30.16 (previous pb 3:30.31) and Makhloufi was fourth in a new pb of 3:30.40 (previous pb 3:30.80).

While those four were the only four within striking distance entering the final 100, they weren’t the only four to run super fast in this super race. 2008 World junior silver medallist James Magut had a massive pb of 3:30.61 (previous pb 3:33.31) for fifth.

The perfect way to understand how fast this race is to realize the sixth place finisher, Aman Wote of Ethiopia, the 2014 World indoor silver medallist who came in as the world leader in the mile this year (3:53.39), ran an Ethiopian national record (previous pb 3:32.65, previous NR 3:31.13). Yes, an Ethiopian national record only got 6th place.

The fourth, fifth and sixth placers all set best time for place marks – meaning no one had ever run faster in a race and finished that far down in a 1500.

Doha Men’s 1500 Results

Rank Athlete Nation Results
1 KIPROP Asbel KEN 3:29.18 WL,MR
2 KIPLAGAT Silas KEN 3:29.70 SB
3 SOULEIMAN Ayanleh DJI 3:30.16 NR
4 MAKHLOUFI Taoufik ALG 3:30.40 PB
5 MAGUT James Kiplagat KEN 3:30.61 PB
6 WOTE Aman ETH 3:30.86 NR
7 BIRGEN Bethwell KEN 3:31.22
8 ÖZBILEN Ilham Tanui TUR 3:32.09
9 CHEBOI Collins KEN 3:32.30 SB
10 CRONJE Johan RSA 3:33.31
11 TESFAYE Homiyu GER 3:33.33 PB
12 SEUREI Benson BRN 3:34.24
13 CHEPSEBA Nixon Kiplimo KEN 3:34.64 SB
14 AL GARNI Mohamed QAT 3:39.70
15 DRIOUCH Hamza QAT 3:47.48
MAIYO Hillary Kipkorir KEN DNF
ROTICH Andrew Kiptoo KEN DNF

Quick Take #1: A Classic 1500 Above we gave you the cliff note versions of what Steve Cram said right when these guys crossed the line. He summed up the race perfectly right on the spot. The full version:

“What a way to kick off 2014. The top 1500 meter men in the world produce a superb race that was in doubt until the last 30 or 40 meters. Kiprop shows showed his class, showed his style, and showed his ability,” said Cram. “A classic 1500.”

Races don’t get much better than this. What a way to kick off the year.

Quick Thought #2: Top 4 All Impress Kiprop proved he’s the best 1500 guy on the planet and proved his talk of a possible world record attempt later this year just isn’t idle talk. Yes Makhloufi crushed him at the Olympics but Kiprop was injured then.

Makhloufi showed his Olympic win in 2012 wasn’t a total fluke. He did next to nothing in 2013 but looks to be a force in 2014.

Kiplagat showed despite his WChampionship and Olympic stumbles the last few years he’s still relevant.

Souleiman, who ran aggressively throughout and was just ahead of Kiprop the entire race until the last 100, proved he wants to be the new king of the 1500 (he attempted the 800/1500 double at Worlds last year and got a bronze at 800). Kiplagat beat Souleiman here, but Souleiman was slightly more impressive as he ran very aggressively.

Quick Take #3: Great Rabbiting The two rabbits Andrew Rotich and Hillary Maiyo in this race deserve a ton of praise. They were close to perfect. Normally, the first lap is too fast in a DL 1500. These guys were incredibly even for the first 800. We didn’t get a 52.95 like in Monaco last year and that was key as 52 is just too fast this early in the year. Rotich went 54.88 and then 56.44 (1:51.32) for the first 800. Maiyo got the field through 1200 in 2:49.07.

We estimate Kiprop’s splits as follows: 55.7, 56.3 ( 1:52.0), 57.6 (2:49.6), 39.5. Leader to leader the last lap was 54.50 but Kiprop was likely 54 flat, maybe 53 very high.

Intermediate times:

400m: ROTICH, Andrew Kiptoo (KEN) 54.88
800m: ROTICH, Andrew Kiptoo (KEN) 1:51.32
1200m MAIYO, Hillary Kipkorir (KEN): 2:49.06

Quick Take #4: Video Highlights Did you miss this one? Please do yourself and watch the race highlights from our partner Universal Sports below.

Quick Take #5 Watch on Deman: The meet was tremendous and we have discovered a way you can watch it and Universal Sports (and Be In Sports and a host of other channels like Bloomberg TV) live or on demand for $10/a month. There’s a free 48 hour trial. For more info click here.

Quick Take #5: International visitors, we don’t think the video above works so enjoy the screen shots below.




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